Cost of Illegal Immigration in Hawaii
Public Sector Unions: Bastions of white-collar Privilege
Fitch: Hawaii debt levels are high
WSJ: Hawaii Pacific University Piles on the 'Other' College Debt
Hawaii Organic Farm Crops Worth $13.9M
Hanabusa Slams HART: I am the Only Person not to just sit there and vote yes
SA: She’s chairing the HART oversight committee and believes fears will be assuaged if these people see her questioning every change order and unpacking every scary cost projection.
“Someone jokingly told me, ‘We went from half-hour meetings to an hour and a half. We think it’s you,’” Hanabusa said....
I’m the only person on HART who signed the Full Funding (Grant) Agreement when we were in Washington …
I’m probably the only one who thinks it’s fascinating that there’s a batch plant that makes its own concrete, where they prefab the pillars, and all of that…
And the funding part. I was in the Senate when the GET (general excise tax surcharge) actually passed, and watching how that has evolved, the discussions, who said what. Those are things you get to see, the actual application.
the reaction to me being on HART has been … “We’re supporters of rail, we like rail, we like the idea. We aren’t quite sure now, but we think that if you’re there, we think we might be able to like it again. Because we think you’ll be up front with us.”
And it’s very strange, the perception, because I don’t think it’s that anybody else is not (up front). It’s just that maybe they just think I’m outspoken and loud, or something, that they think I’ll have answers …
So I think that the most important thing is they have trust in the fact that I’m there not to just sit there and vote yes....
Q: Most people are thinking the Council will extend it. Are you …?
A: It’s an election year. (Laughs.)
read ... Hanabusa
Hee Crony Resigns as KSBE Trustee After Being Rejected for New Term
HNN: Kamehameha Schools trustee Janeen-Ann Olds has stepped down from the board, just hours after a state judge rejected her bid for a second term....
Her attorney Lex Smith said she was the victim of a letter writing campaign by a vocal minority.
"We're disappointed as I told the court we did not feel there was a reason not to reappoint Mrs. Olds," Smith said.
Olds has served as a board member of the organization, which educates nearly 50,000 native Hawaiians. She's also the CEO of Sandwich Isles Communications, whose founder was convicted of looting the company in July.
In a letter to the state Probate Court, a number of influential graduates, including former Kamehameha Schools trustee Douglas Ing and Lunalilo Homes trustee Kamani Kualaau, called on the court to reject Olds' reappointment.
It was under Olds' watch that Sandwich Isles' founder Albert Hee skimmed $4 million from the company and its parent Waimana to pay for a home in California, his children's college tuition and phony wages for his wife. The Federal Communications Commission is now investigating the company's finances.
"We believe Mrs. Olds has lost credibility not just with her fellow trustees but with the Hawaiian community at large," said Rhonda Griswold, attorney for the trust....
The issue of trustee selection and retention is extremely sensitive here because 15 years ago, allegations of corruption and mismanagement led to the removal of former board members Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Lokelani Lindsey, Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender.
Back then hundreds of students, parents and graduates marched against the former trustees, prompting investigations by the state and the IRS that brought the school to the brink of ruin. Major reforms and a massive expansion of the school's educational mission followed.
read ... Aloha Means bye-bye
Full Text: Chief Kealoha Files Anonymous Suit to Shut Down Ethics Investigation
HNN: Using the pseudonym Doe and Roe to protect their “privacy interest,” the Kealohas filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court on Sept. 4, asking a judge to stop the city ethics investigation.
Their suit said the city has "wrongfully refused" to provide them with a copy of the ”initiating information and/or other information upon which the investigation is/was based,” as well as investigative information and materials obtained in its ethics probe.
The lawsuit claimed both Ethics Commission Director Chuck Totto and the investigator who handled the case, retired HPD Captain Letha DeCaires, are "not qualified" to investigate them, partly because of what the suit claims is an unspecified "conflict of interest." The lawsuit misspelled DeCaires’ last name as “DeCaries.”
The Kealohas claimed the commission's secrecy is inhibiting them from mounting a defense against the allegations.
The lawsuit goes on to say the Kealohas’ "ability to properly and fully investigate and respond to the allegations, prepare a defense, all while being required to provide voluminous information, have been severely handicapped by not being informed of the allegations to which they are expected to respond."
At a rally against domestic violence Thursday, Hawaii News Now tried to ask Kealoha if he and his wife filed the lawsuit, and he said, “That's no ... No comment.” ...
In a second lawsuit filed July 8, Katherine Kealoha, using the fictitious name "public servant," sued the Ethics Commission, trying to get a judge to force the commission to provide her a copy of the ethics complaint against her. That lawsuit was later withdrawn.
The ethics case is the least of the Kealohas’ concerns, since the FBI is also investigating the police chief's potential abuse of power in what could become a federal criminal probe.
To see the lawsuit, click here.
read ... No Ethics
Lawsuit over possible ethics lapses has city revisiting bond measure to finance rail
SA: A legal cloud hanging over a vote taken by the Honolulu City Council in 2012 is pushing current Council members to rush through a new measure to ensure the rail project doesn’t incur millions of dollars in late payments and debt.
City officials say Bill 73, essentially a revote of a bond OK given in 2012, needs to be given final approval by January to avoid late payment or interest that could cost taxpayers about $3 million a month.
Council Chairman Ernie Martin on Thursday called a special meeting for Wednesday to take the first of three Council votes on the bill, which would authorize the city to issue up to $450 million in general obligation commercial paper, or short-term bonds for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s $6 billion rail project, among other things.
The language of the new bill mirrors that of Ordinance 12-17, one of a number of bills called into question in a lawsuit filed last month by Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate a number of ordinances Kawananakoa contends were passed with votes cast by Council members who took the actions in violation of city ethics laws.
The reason for expediency was detailed by city Budget Director Nelson Koyanagi in a letter to Martin on Thursday. The city is working with its bond underwriters to establish a new tax-exempt commercial paper, or TECP, program. In order to complete the bond issuance, however, Corporation Counsel Donna Leong must sign off on a memorandum that “confirms that no pending litigation affects ‘the right of the city to levy taxes or to issue evidence of indebtedness.’”
read ... Ethical Lapses
Borreca: Ige's Mauna Kea Stalemate 'The best he can do'
Borreca: On a crassly political level, you want Hawaii island business groups in your corner. If they trust you, the support continues through election day. Weighing against that calculation is not so much the support of Hawaiian groups, but the possible opposition of Hawaiian groups who consider construction of TMT to be a desecration of ancestral lands.
Ige told television reporters covering the news story that while the state is enforcing the laws regarding protesters on the mountain, “we want to be sensitive to cultural perspectives.”
The governor, who is traveling in Asia, apparently sought to distance the administration from the construction timing.
“The project (TMT) needs to decide when they want to proceed and how they want to proceed,” Ige told KITV-4 News.
Back in June, Henry Yang, chairman of the TMT International Board, said construction was halted when protesters used boulders to block access to the site.
“We are planning to resume when the issue is resolved,” Yang said at the time.
While dithering between supporting local business and Hawaiians’ demands for recognition is not an inspiring way for Ige to wrap up his first year, it could be worse.
At this exact same time four years ago, Gov. Neil Abercrombie had just seen his director of communications, deputy director of communications, his chief of staff and deputy chief all resign. Legislative insiders were saying the “administration was in internal crisis.”
By that time, Abercrombie had already attacked AARP and the Pro Bowl and attempted to tax pensions. He would go on to lose to Ige in a historic Democratic primary defeat.
Ige will not find consensus on Mauna Kea, but his strategy of playing for a tie and not a win may be the best he can do.
Related: Full Text: Hawaii Business Groups Slam Police Refusal to Enforce Law on Mauna Kea
read ... Playing for a Tie
Governing: Ige Bogged Down in Details
G: ...in choosing Hawaii Gov. David Ige over Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a primary, voters effectively traded in Abercrombie's my-way-or-the-highway approach for Ige's more soft-spoken style. "While Ige has had some success bringing disagreeing parties together in the Hawaiian style of ho'oponopono, he has sometimes gotten bogged down in the nuts and bolts of problem solving, rather than taking a stronger leadership role," said one political observer in the state.
Two high-profile issues -- a persistent homeless problem in Honolulu and a battle with Native Hawaiians on Mauna Kea over a planned telescope -- continue to await action....
read ... Governing
Hawaii Suffers under 'Unaffordable Care Act"
MN: Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito announced Monday that the state approved a 27 percent rate increase for HMSA and a 34 percent increase for Kaiser for the companies' ACA plans for individuals.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that HMSA's plan will go from $397 to $506 per month - Kaiser's rate will jump from $339 to $456.
The commissioner said both the state and the insurance companies had vastly underestimated the pent-up demand for services from citizens purchasing ACA plans. The new rates are needed so the companies can keep paying for covered benefits.
It is interesting how government believes simply giving a law an appealing name can make it successful. No Child Left Behind left millions of students and thousands of teachers behind.
The Affordable Care Act levied new fees on insurance companies that they promptly passed through to their customers. Now those purchasing plans under ACA in Hawaii are seeing budget busting rate increases that could quickly turn this law into the Unaffordable Care Act.
Related: Obamacare Rate Hikes Approved: 27% HMSA, 34% Kaiser
read ... Maui News
100 Crimes Reported at Kakaako Homeless Cam Since Late August
KHON: KHON2 checked the Honolulu Police Department’s crime mapping website and from late August through early September, before the sweeps started, there was a total of 30 crimes reported.
During the first two phases of enforcement, from September 7th through September 20th, there were 32 crimes reported and in the last two weeks there were 38 crimes reported.
read ... Predators, not Victims
Trash volume delays Kakaako cleanup
SA: The unexpected volume of trash left behind by departing homeless people means the cleanup of the Kakaako homeless encampment will take longer than expected and now won’t be finished until Monday.
A special cleanup crew from the city Department of Facility Maintenance found more debris than expected Thursday — 2 1/2 garbage trucks full — and will not be able to finish clearing out Olomehani Street and Ohe Street as expected today, said Ross Sasamura, who is in charge of the cleanup as the city’s director and chief engineer of the Department of Facility Maintenance....
The crew had collected a record 7.26 tons of abandoned wooden structures, metal and assorted trash during a previous cleanup of the encampment around Ala Moana Boulevard and Keawe, Coral and Ilalo streets that ended Sept. 21.
But Sasamura said the last push through Kakaako will break that record “because of the volume of debris that was left behind. This one’s going to be more.”
SA: "discarded hypodermic needles, drug paraphernalia and bottles filled with human urine"
read ... Too Much Trash
19 More Homeless Finally Agree to Accept Shelter
KITV: "We had 19 slots for about 3 to 4 families and they got filled right way," said Community Relations Manager Kimo Carvalho.
read ... 19 More
AP Suckered by Phony United Nations Deputy Ambassador Watching Honolulu Homeless Camp Clearing
AP: City officials said about 100 remaining homeless people would be affected by the two-day sweeps in a neighborhood of expensive high rises near the center of Waikiki, just steps from the Pacific Ocean.
But others thought that estimate was low. Beatriz Cantelmo, (who claims to be) a deputy ambassador with the U.N. World Human Facility, (The what? Click the link, its fake) said she counted 278 people still living in the encampment Wednesday, less than 24 hours before crews were set to start clearing them out.
"There's a huge disconnect," Cantelmo said, adding most people she talked to had not seen a case manager in a month. (And the AP swallowed this hook, line, and sinker.)
CB: Civil Beat Thrilled to Announce "Many of Kakaako’s Homeless Are Not Shelter-Bound"
read ... These guys will try anything to keep the homeless homeless
Caldwell's Ala Moana sewage spill much larger than reported
KHON: Initial estimates said more than 500,000 gallons of waste went into the ocean.
But a day later, city department supervisors recalculated to come up with much less, subtracting what the trucks sucked up. Emails reviewed by Always Investigating show Department of Environmental Services director Lori Kahikina emailing her deputy, “Are you serious! That’s newsworthy!!”
At a press conference the next day, the city trumpeted the spill only being 129,000 gallons....
KHON2 asked sources if there was any chance that the spill reports could just be honestly misunderstood.
“No,” one source responded. “Those spill reports have been used for years and on it, it specifically says how much went into the storm drain, how much can be recovered and it states exactly how many went into the ocean that was ‘unrecoverable.’”
When asked how big the spill really was, the source responded, “I think it was closer to between 800,000 and 900,000 gallons.”
The city’s own technology said the system’s well was full at 5 a.m., and that’s hours before crews started measuring the spill.
“If there were no trucks preventing it, it’s probably about another 250,000 to 300,000 gallons, just from Atkinson,” a source told Always Investigating. “That doesn’t include any other spill spots.”
Background: After Lying, Caldwell Admin Finally Admits Waikiki Flooding is Purely Due to City's own Incompetence
read ... More Lies from Caldwell
Millions of dollars sat unused as UH College of Education classrooms were allowed to deteriorate
HNN: ..."In 2006, we had a fire where a 30,000-square foot building burned to the ground," said former COE Dean Christine Sorensen Irvine.
The building housed the COE University Laboratory School. It was also used for athletics, music and drama classes. After the fire, Sorensen Irvine was one of the people working on site plans.
"We were looking at trying to build a new facility that replaced the one that burnt. That kind of disappeared," she said.
Sorensen Irvine provided Hawaii News Now with a letter from 2007 asking the university to help put in four modular units. At that time the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was willing to help cover nearly half the cost. But that request was denied.
In 2010, UH officials confirmed they received a $4.5 million insurance settlement from the fire.
Sorensen Irvine sent another request but help never came. Meantime, classrooms built before World War II continued to deteriorate....
read ... Millions Unused
Anti-GMO Activists Funded by “fortunes derived from big oil, big industry, big pharma and big banks.”
KE: Who really is influencing politics in Hawaii, and how can the public find out?
As I reported on Monday, the Hawaii Center for Food Safety believes that seed companies are unduly influencing the Legislature, and it requested emails from five lawmakers to try and find a smoking gun....
Let's set aside the whole GMO debate for a moment and focus solely on the issues of transparency and influence, both of which are favorite rallying points for CFS.
I was particularly struck by this line in the CFS petition appeal (emphasis added): "Only overwhelming public support for transparency will ensure these records are released and our democracy is protected from corporate greed."
So again I ask the question, why is there concern only about the transparency of for-profit corporations, and absolutely none for nonprofit corporations? Does anyone actually believe that only for-profit corporations are greedy, or trying to exercise undue influence on the political process? ...
So why doesn't CFS believe the same holds true for its own records? How are we to assess the proper functioning of our democratic process, and who is influencing it, if advocacy groups like CFS don't have to reveal their funding sources, or who pays them to lobby?
And make no mistake, they do lobby, and they lobby dirty and hard.
Hawaii CFS Director Ashley Lukens is a registered lobbyist for a political advocacy group masquerading as a nonprofit, which allows her to avoid reporting the source of her lobbying funds. In an email to me, Ashley defended her lack of disclosure: "Donor disclosure only applies for lobbying for candidates or ballot initiatives which Center for Food Safety does not do."
Except CFS most definitely does lobby for ballot initiatives. It helped draft Kauai Bill 2491, and as its own website admits: "CFS has a number of “model” state bills or local initiatives to better protect non-GE farmers, prohibit GE crop planting or require labeling. Through these efforts CFS has successfully assisted in the passage of a number of bills around the country in the past."
And Ashley herself lobbied for the Maui anti-GMO initiative, as first one, and then another, of her own press releases reveal.
CFS does have a separate political action fund, which should be doing the lobbying, not the nonprofit. What do we know about this group? Nothing, aside from the fact that it got IRS approval.
We do know CFS spent $455,000 on the Washington state GMO labeling initiative, and $1.1 million to promote the Oregon labeling initiative. CFS clearly has been trying to influence the legislative process in those states, but it's far less clear where CFS gets its money, other than, as I previously reported, “fortunes derived from big oil, big industry, big pharma and big banks.”
read ... Big Money behind Anti-GMO
Star-Adv: NextEra Not Serious
SA: It’s time for NextEra Energy to get serious.
Gov. David Ige’s administration, for a second time, roundly rejected the Florida-based company’s efforts to sweeten the pot in its proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries.
The latest rejection, which included blunt warnings against “cagily worded” promises designed to “pull the wool over the other parties’ eyes,” showed a remarkable lack of trust in NextEra and Hawaiian Electric.
At this point, NextEra needs to return to the table with commitments that will satisfy the state’s concerns.
The state’s pushback is understandable, given that few of NextEra’s 85 commitments filed with the Public Utilities Commission, which include more than 50 new ones added in August, appear to offer real additional value.
SA: NextEra remains committed to HEI purchase
read ... Not Serious
Green Energy: New Schofield Biofuel Generator frees Campbell Generator to Burn Diesel
IM: Biofuel are currently used in HECO's existing Campbell Industrial Park (CIP) Combustion Turbine (CT-1). The generator burns 100 percent biofuel. That practice would end. The facility would instead burn fossil fuel.
The biodiesel would be re-routed to the Schofield Facility and blended together with fossil fuel to power the proposed Schofield Generators.
“Hawaiian Electric's intent is to minimize the overall cost of biofuels by using biodiesel more efficiently. The Campbell Industrial Park CT-1 unit ("CIP CT-1") is a flexible simple-cycle combustion turbine, approximately 120 MW in capacity, which is designed to operate as a peaking unit.”
“Currently, CIP CT-1 operates solely on 100% biofuel.”
“If the SGS Project is installed, it will be a more appropriate choice as the primary location to use higher-cost biofuels since the SGS engines will use fuel more efficiently than CIP CT-1. This may provide an opportunity to modify the fuel requirements placed on CIP CT-1 to minimize the cost impact to customers of using higher-cost biofuels.”
The Commission issued its Decision and Order in Docket 2014-0113 on September 29.
“HECO shall shift its current biofuel use at CIP CT-1 to the SGS Project. HECO shall take the necessary steps and file the necessary applications to shift its current biofuel use at CIP CT-1 to the SGS Project in order to minimize the impact on ratepayers of the cost of biofuel.”
(Translation: The net result is that HECO is building one new oil burner and using it to transfer an existing biofuel burner to diesel. Green energy schemes are easy to greenwash.)
read ... Biofuel Shell Game
DoT Airport Division Making Hawaiian Airlines Late
KHON: Construction at Honolulu Airport is causing delays with the state’s largest airline.
Hawaiian Airlines says construction is one of the reasons it lost its title as the nation’s on-time leader.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly report, the new on-time leader is Delta Air Lines, followed by Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian....
Hawaiian officials also put part of the blame on airport construction, mainly the state’s multi-year Airport Modernization Program.
The project includes a new concourse and terminal, which means 12 new gates. It’s scheduled to be completed in two years.
“Airport Modernization has been a long time coming and we are certainly very happy to see it underway, but we have felt and will continue to feel short-term pain associated with this project,” Dunkerley said.
Travelers say they experience more problems with the airport than with the airline.
“We just took a half hour in the (agriculture) inspection right now after the freeway backed up so we’re kind of behind,” said traveler Leslie Crow.
“There’s more congestion in this (check-in) area than with the airline itself,” Burke said....
read ... Hawaiian Airlines blames construction for slip in on-time performance
Army prepares for removal of isle’s Stryker vehicles
SA: When troop cuts were announced in July at installations around the country, U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter said a proposal was made to transfer the Hawaii Stryker equipment to the National Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team in Washington state.
Capt. Joseph Siemandel, a spokesman for the Washington National Guard, said Thursday the timeline for receiving the Strykers is a decision being made by the Department of the Army. The Guard is still awaiting confirmation on the number of Strykers as well, he said.
The more than 4,600 soldiers in the 2nd Stryker Brigade will be reduced to about 3,400 soldiers, but those troop cuts haven’t taken place yet, Barker said.
As part of its “force restructure” announcement in July, the Army said it was dropping to 450,000 soldiers from 490,000, with all the cuts to be completed by the end of fiscal 2018.
read ... Stryker
While Cronies Line up for Licenses, Police Raid Ordinary Dopers to Eliminate Competition
HTH: Morby was arrested May 29, 2014, after police executed a search warrant on her Tiki Lane property.
According to police, officers seized 162 marijuana plants from seedlings to 5-feet tall, 90 clones, 3.86 pounds of processed marijuana and 26.7 grams of butane honey oil, a marijuana concentrate.
Martin Bento, Morby’s court-appointed attorney, asked Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura to grant Morby a stay of her jail time or to allow her to serve it intermittently. He said Morby is the primary caregiver for her elderly mother. According to records, he also said Morby has her own health issues and has taken methadone, a synthetic opioid prescribed as a pain medication and also as maintenance therapy in opiate addiction.
Nakamura ordered Morby, who’s free on $33,200 bail, to report Oct. 21 to start serving her jail term, and advised her failure to appear is grounds for probation revocation and a possible prison term. He also ordered Morby to obtain substance abuse and mental health assessments and to follow any recommended treatments.
In addition, the clock was re-started on Morby’s five-year probation for her previous first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug conviction. In that case, prosecutors dropped 21 other charges in return for her guilty plea, including first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana.
Morby and her longtime boyfriend, Gilbert Espiritu, then 58, were arrested Oct. 18, 2012, after officers served a search warrant on three Tiki Lane properties that included what police described as two indoor marijuana farms.
In that raid, officers confiscated almost 99 pounds of dried marijuana, 321 marijuana plants, 96 clones, 2.5 grams of heroin, 125 grams of hashish and 232 hydrocodone pills — a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller marketed as Vicodin — at two of the properties.
Espiritu was sentenced June 21, 2013, to two years in jail and 10 years probation.
At his sentencing, Espiritu’s lawyer, Brian De Lima, asked that his client be allowed a delay of eight months before starting his jail term because he was undergoing methadone treatment.
HNN: Attorney Sheds Light on Future of Marijuana Dispensaries
read ... Eliminate the Competition
Alleged Child Molester Allegedly Grabs Makaha Boy
SA: Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Dowd told Perkins that Apostadiro was exposing his genitals to children at Makaha Valley Park on Sunday afternoon.
The park is adjacent to Makaha Elementary School.
Police said Apostadiro was masturbating and attempting to lure juveniles into the park’s female restroom.
Dowd said a 19-year-old man confronted Apostadiro and told him to leave. He said a 10-year-old boy, who thought that Apostadiro had left, found Apostadiro masturbating in the male restroom.
Police said when the boy tried to leave, Apostadiro grabbed him by the left arm and tried to pull him into the restroom.
After struggling with Apostadiro for about a minute, the boy was able to break free and alert someone to call police, Dowd said. The struggle, however, left a bruise on the boy’s arm.
Police said juveniles flagged down a responding officer and told him Apostadiro had fled toward the school. The officer arrested Apostadiro at the entrance to the school.
SA: Homosexuals Tout Control over Children, Gay Gene Scam Renewed
read ... Alleged Child Molester