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Friday, August 21, 2015
August 21, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:08 PM :: 5007 Views

Hawaii Statehood: Tiny 1959 opposition was anti-Japanese, not anti-American

Hawaii Senate Minority Celebrates 56 Years of Statehood

It was 56 years ago today we added the 50th state

Light Wind, Worthless Windfarms Leave Oahu at Risk for Blackouts

TS Kilo Emergency Declared

Feds Congratulate Hawaii: Kakaako is Nations' Largest Homeless Tent City--First Place Prize Money Coming

SA: The head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness drove through the Kakaako homeless encampment (didn't get out of car) this week and called it “one of the larger ones I’ve seen.” (Ca-Ching!)

Perhaps more important, the council’s executive director, Matthew Doherty, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an exclusive interview that “the presence of children in that encampment is a crisis that needs to be addressed,” adding, “It has to be our No. 1 priority.”  (Translation: It Pays to Keep the homeless, homeless.)

The encampment expanded rapidly over the last several months, in part due to the city’s “sit-lie” ban, which continues to force homeless people out of Waikiki, downtown and Chinatown.

Hawaii’s Child Welfare Services Branch does not consider homelessness by itself to be a cause to take children away from homeless families — a policy that the federal council supports.  (Yeah.  If they did that, some of these families would accept shelter and we can't have that interfering with the grab for federal funding.)

Doherty and USICH’s regional coordinator — Seattle-based Katy Miller — arrived Tuesday after Gov. David Ige formed his now 4-week-old Governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness. They’re scheduled to leave Friday.

Doherty and Miller met this week with federal officials, Ige and his leadership team, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s staff, the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness and the executive committee of Partners in Care, a coalition of 30 Profitable nonprofit agencies which conducted the survey of the Kakaako homeless and is dedicated to (never-)ending (profitable) homelessness on Oahu.

The federal council describes itself as an independent agency within the executive branch of the U.S. government that works with federal agencies, state and local governments and service providers, and homeless advocates to end homelessness.

“We want to use our ability to connect resources $$$ , ideas and best practices $$$ to strengthen how Hawaii can turn the corner to ending homelessness,” Doherty said. “We’re dedicated to helping this community identify the technical assistance $$$ needs that federal agencies can provide $$$. With the governor stepping forward and forming the leadership team, it seemed like a higher level of engagement $$$, and we wanted to offer the support of federal partners $$$ to create real solutions $$$ here. We want to be a support $$$ to local and state government on long-range solutions $$$.”

Asked to compare the Kakaako encampment with others on the mainland, Doherty said he has seen similar ones in downtown San Diego and Fresno, Calif.  But they “are not quite as large or substantial,” Doherty said. “They do not have as many structures and tents.”  (Congratulations Hawaii Beats Fresno Again!)

He called the Kakaako encampment “distressing.” ... (Distressing = "Magnificent monument to profitable bureaucratic manipulation".)

Homeless shelters, Doherty said, should be thought of as “short-term intervention,” adding, “Sheltering people does not end their homelessness...."  (Translation: Keep them on the streets so we can keep the money flowing.)

read ... Profitable Nonprofits Cash in

City Council Fills New, $84K Housing Position With Political Operative

CB: Peter Boylan has plenty of experience in Hawaii political circles, but no particular background in housing and homelessness, the issues he’ll engage in his new job....

Local political analyst and University of Hawaii professor Neal Milner thinks the appointment raises red flags, given Boylan’s experience as a political operative and Martin’s political ambitions. The Council chair told Hawaii News Now last week that he plans to run for mayor, either next year or later.

“People are going to look at this and say (Boylan’s) skills are basically being a political operator and all I can say is that’s exactly correct,” Milner said. “No way around that.”

Milner said his broader concern is the issue of homelessness being used to manifest rivalry between the City Council and the mayor.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a political operative if that’s what you’re getting paid for,” he said. “There doesn’t seem to be any other obvious reason for why he was hired for the job and as long as there’s no obvious reason, people are going to come to the conclusion that it’s political in a bad sense.” ...

Related: Profiting from Homelessness: Publicist, Lobbyist Take Control

read ... Political

A governor who acted on homelessness? See Lingle

Borreca: If the human catastrophe of homelessness had just dropped upon the islands, then it would be understandable that public officials were caught unaware. If suddenly Hawaii housing prices had soared 200 percent in a year, or a tidal wave of migrants washed over the state, then the elected ones could say, “Whoa, where did this come from?”

But Hawaii’s high cost of housing, lack of jobs and flood of poor migrants from Micronesia have been festering for decades.

On July 15, 2004, then-Gov. Linda Lingle gave one of her better speeches to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii setting out a detailed plan regarding both housing and homelessness.

“Chronically homeless means constantly homeless; it means repeatedly homeless. It means the people you see sleeping at Ala Moana Beach Park and people you pass by sleeping in the streets.

“Many of them are disabled, suffer from serious mental illness and substance abuse.

“We as a state have let this problem go on for too long. If we don’t address it head on, and seriously and collectively, it will have a profound negative impact on all of us,” Lingle said.

More shelters will not answer the problem, she said. We need more low-cost housing.

“We are not even supplying 20 percent of the needed units,” Lingle said.

“We have to quit kidding yourself about this problem. Those of us in government have to stop tinkering around with this issue and get serious,” she said.

Lingle put together a task force with developers, landowners, the construction industry and nonprofit organizations dealing with the homeless to look for solutions.

“The government, quite frankly, is inept at getting large number of affordable units on the market and we need the help of the private sector,” Lingle said.

She soon had the chance to deliver on her rhetoric when the city moved hundreds of homeless out of Ala Moana Park, for a three-day cleaning project in 2006.

Lingle declared a state of emergency to cut through the red tape and in six days set up what was dubbed the Next Step Shelter in Kakaako.

Russ Saito, Lingle’s accounting and general services director, recounted how Lingle used emergency proclamations to develop eight shelters along the Leeward Coast and on Kauai.

“It was an initial reaction to the problem; we hoped they would be replaced with more permanent facilities,” Saito said in an interview this week.

In his final report on housing for the homeless, Saito urged government to drop the shelters program and instead move to the Housing First approach. In other words, put those without a home in a domicile. If not houses, then rent subsidies for those stable enough and without the mental health and drug abuse problems....

2008: Legislators Block Lingle from Using Emergency powers to Deal with Homelessness

read ... Lingle

Faster Permitting Urged for State Public Housing Work

CB: The Hawaii Public Housing Authority has been working with the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting to come up with ways to process permits more quickly.

read ... Permitting

Should Hawaii Public Housing Make Homeless Children a Higher Priority?

CB: The state Housing Authority is exploring the possibility of bringing homeless families with children to the top of the waiting list for units.

read ... Children

Micronesian Immigration an ‘Important Civil Rights Issue’ Facing Hawaii

CB: A federal advisory group is told about growing discrimination toward COFA citizens in housing, education, health care and employment.

The Discrimination is led from the Top:

read ... Civil Rights

Judge Rushing Mauna Kea Case so Telescope Protesters can Celebrate ... Equinox

HTH: The struggle for access to Mauna Kea continued Thursday during a hearing in Judge Ronald Ibarra’s Environmental Court in Kailua-Kona.

The case is a challenge to the emergency rules preventing people from being on the access road or within one mile of either side from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. and prevents camping supplies being used in the area.

Thursday’s court proceedings ran from noon until shortly before 5 p.m. as both sides called witnesses and introduced evidence.

The first witness was Kalani Flores, an assistant professor of Hawaii life styles at Hawaii Community College and a Native Hawaiian....

The next equinox is Sept. 22, which Ibarra acknowledged as a concern in the speed of the case....

(Hello: The anti-Astronomy protesters want to be on the mountain for an astronomical event.  LOL!)

read ... Contradiction

Senator Chun Oakland violated ethics code for years

HNN: The head of the state Ethics Commission said Thursday State Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland has ignored his advice for five years that her involvement as the organizer of a popular children's event breaks the ethics code.

But Chun Oakland and the Children and Youth Day she coordinates (to help herself get reelected) are finally making some major changes with the annual event just six weeks away, because she is no longer able to use her office, staff and state resources to coordinate it.

Children and Youth Day is held at and around the State Capitol on the first Sunday each October.  It draws 40,000 people with families enjoying food, entertainment and more than 150 activities.

But Les Kondo, the head of the state Ethics Commission, said for years Chun Oakland has been inaccurately claiming that it's an official state event, meaning state taxpayers take on lots of liability, since unlike other groups, the event does not have to provide its own insurance.

"All of that is exposing the state, and this is beyond my pay grade as well, exposing the state to unnecessary and crazy amounts of liability that is not appropriate," Kondo said.

read ... Senator violated ethics code for years

Gabbard continues to Talk Up Vice Presidential Run

SA: In an apparent effort to rein in (boost) speculation about her ambitions, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced Thursday that running for vice president of the United States “is certainly nothing I’ve ever thought of doing.”  (Translation: She's running.)

Democrat Gabbard, who represents the 2nd Congressional District (rural Oahu, neighbor islands), issued that terse written statement (Terse = "I would consider it" x 3) after a report was published in The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai that Gabbard had said she would be “willing” to run for vice president.

“Let’s set the record straight,” Gabbard said in her statement. “A reporter asked me, if the presidential nominee (I presume Democrat) were to ask me to serve alongside him or her as vice president, would I consider it.”

“I told them I would consider it, because obviously if the Democratic presidential nominee felt I could actually contribute and be of service to the people of Hawaii and our country, then it would be disrespectful and absurd for me not to consider it,” she said.

HNN: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard considers running for vice president if asked

read ... Sure Sign She's Running

NextEra hires former Inouye aide to Twist Arms

SA: The HEI suitor is paying lobbyist Jennifer Sabas an undisclosed amount to “get their story out”

read ... Too Little, Too Late?

NextEra Big Cable project--Spend $800M to Save $423M

PBN: The price tag would be somewhere between $600 million and $800 million by most estimates.

In return, ratepayers could save a total of $423 million over 30 years, according to the state Energy Office, and Hawaii would move closer to its clean-energy goals.

“If you are going to use the benefits you would need transmission between Maui, Big Island and Oahu, that needs to be continued to be looked at,” Glick said. “[Connecting the cable to] Lanai and Molokai [are] not options.”

NextEra Energy Inc. (NYSE: NEE), which is proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, is one of the companies with a plan to develop an undersea cable project.

read ... Stuck on Big Cable

19 Priors Since 1998: Out on the Streets, now Charged with Attempted Murder

HTH: ... Jomal G. Ford was arrested on Mauna Lani Tract Road on suspicion of attempted murder.

According to police, at about 1:48 p.m., officers and state sheriff’s deputies were attempting to serve a bench warrant at a Mauna Lani Tract Road home when a vehicle sped toward the officers in a threatening manner. In response, a police officer fired three shots and a sheriff’s deputy fired two shots toward the vehicle, striking the operator.

The vehicle subsequently struck another sheriff’s deputy, then came to rest after running into bushes on the property, police said....

A check of court records indicate Ford has 19 criminal convictions, including five felonies, dating back to 1998. Those include convictions for negligent homicide and negligent injury for a two-car collision on Hawaii Belt Road on July 4, 1999, at Ookala Bridge in North Hilo that killed 35-year-old John Chavez of Keaau....

Ford was also convicted in 1999 of burglary, forgery, driving a stolen vehicle and felony theft....

read ... Soft on Crime

Some Honolulu police officers using personal body cameras

KITV: ... Maafala says many officers want to protect themselves against possible reprimand, or even criminal charges, and body cameras are one of the most effective ways to achieve that goal. Although there’s no official count of how many officers are using their own cameras, anecdotal evidence shows it’s increasingly common.

"It's been going on and the officers have been doing it, even before it became a hot-button issue across the nation," said Maafala. “It’s the mindset of protecting themselves, it's our word versus those of the public that we do have to address.”

While HPD is allowing officers to use their own body cameras, there's no official policy on how the equipment should be used or what happens with the videos that are captured. 

“The department is aware that some officers are using personally purchased body cameras,” HPD spokeswoman Sarah Yoro said in an email to KITV4. “It is a personal choice and there is currently no policy that prohibits their use....

Criminal defense attorney Marcus Landsberg says the fact that HPD has no official policy for personal body cameras raises a bounty of constitutional issues. The most critical is how long officers should keep videos as they perform their official duties.

“By saying they're hands off and it's up to the officer on their own to do it, that’s a situation that might open police officers to potential charges of destruction of evidence,” said Landsberg. “What I would suggest is preservation should be the same length of time as the statute of limitations. So, if the statute of limitations is two years on a particular crime, that should be the absolute minimum which they're required to preserve evidence for any particular case.”

Barring the creation of an official policy, Landsberg believes it’s up to HPD to preserve any evidence that an officer’s camera may capture. He says failure to do so could jeopardize an entire case if the video is erased, either accidentally or on purpose....

SA: Hearing set for HPD officer, girlfriend

read ... Keep the Useful, Erase the Problematic

Regents Reward Incompetence: Approve $1M raises for University Administrators

SA: Pay raises totaling $1 million for nearly 200 University of Hawaii executives will take effect retroactive to July 1 following a unanimous vote Thursday by the university’s Board of Regents.

The raises cover 182 of the university’s 221 nonunionized employees in executive and managerial positions that include system vice presidents, campus chancellors and vice chancellors, deans and program directors. Eighty-one of the resulting salaries will exceed $150,000, the threshold requiring regents’ approval.

UH President David Lassner, who proposed the increases in a July 30 memo, said the last pay raise for these positions took effect in mid-2008, while other university employees and faculty have seen increases tied to collective bargaining agreements in recent years.  (This rationale creates conflict of interest in union negotiations.)

read ... Administrative Bloat

Court Upholds Self-Dealing Ruling Against School Employee

SA: ...The Intermediate Court of Appeals has ruled that a charter school employee in Hilo violated the state ethics code by ordering and approving purchases for the school from his family businesses and is liable for $10,000 in fines levied by the state Ethics Commission.

In a decision issued Wednesday, the court upheld the Ethics Commission’s Feb. 8, 2013, ruling against William Eric Boyd, an administrative assistant at Connections Public Charter School, for his actions involving the purchase of student lunches and school supplies, including digital camcorders.

The commission found that Boyd had violated the ethics law in 20 instances by acting on behalf of the school as well as his family businesses, which is a conflict of interest. Each violation carried a $500 fine. There were no allegations against the school itself....

read ... Self Dealing

Ex-Certified Hawaii exec pleads no contest to Nine Years of theft of townhouse funds

SA: The 15 charges accuse her of stealing money from the owner associations for Kekuilani Villas and Aeloa Terrace in Kapolei and Kulana Knolls in Royal Kunia between January 2003 and February 2012, when she worked for Certified Hawaii.

A Certified Hawaii spokeswoman said company officials fired Floerke in March 2012 after she confessed. The state charged Floerke with the thefts in 2014.

THE STATE said Floerke had association checks issued to pay off personal expenses including $20,900 for koa furniture, $7,786 for granite countertops in her home, $4,746 for a home security system and service plan, $2,487 for auto repairs for her and her daughter’s vehicles, $2,000 for new tires and $27,800 for gift certificates.

Floerke also made $10,409 in personal purchases on Kekuilani Villas’ Office Depot, Home Depot and City Mill accounts, and spent $7,507 for home renovations, $3,000 for a concrete driveway for a friend and $4,400 for music lessons for a relative, the state said.

read ... No Contest

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