Plaintiffs File Appeal in Lawsuit Against Unconstitutional Na’i Aupuni Election
HR3764: Legislation Strips Interior Dep't Authority over Tribal Recognition
DoTax Mood Swings Put Extra $8M in Rail Coffers
DHHL to Consult Beneficiaries on Proposed Rule Changes
Homelessness: Ige Signs Supplemental Emergency Proclamation
DCCA: Banking and Marijuana
Abortion Doc: Harvesting Intact Fetal Heads “Will Give Me Something to Strive For”
Nai Aupuni: An effort to seize away Hawaiian trust resources
CB: Kanaiolowalu and Na‘i Aupuni have brought out the very worst in modern Hawaiian governance. It realizes every fear of the Hawaiian community about a blind march towards federal recognition without meaningful or informed input from the larger Hawaiian community. It is an alarming political maneuver by a handful of Hawaiians committed to ignoring history and excluding the overwhelming majority of Hawaiians who remain alienated from this process....
A hallmark of good governance is fair and accurate representation. This holds particularly true in the formation stages of a new government when a people’s needs must be well understood. Na‘i Aupuni builds upon the failures of Kanaiolowalu, throwing good money after bad. This waste of Native Hawaiian trust resources needs to stop....
any claim of “huge numbers” of support for Kanaiolowalu or Na‘i Aupuni is a complete fiction....
Unable to make this latest scheme work, OHA Trustees turned to one of their long time friends and allies to single handedly form a non-profit, Na‘i Aupuni. Na‘i Aupuni was incorporated on December 23, 2014....
As of October 24, 2015, the organization’s incorporator has yet to name a single director or officer with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. It does not make information about its meetings available to the public. There is no indication it has ever held a single meeting. According to their bylaws, they are only required to hold one meeting per year; therefore it is entirely possible the organization has yet to hold a single formal meeting.
It has no Hawai‘i State General Excise Tax License. It has not filed with the Hawai‘i Attorney General’s Office as a charity. It has not filed for tax-exemption status with the IRS – I have serious questions as to if they would qualify for tax-exempt status. Despite all of this, the organization filed for a multi-million dollar grant with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and was awarded $2,598,000 by the Office on April 27, 2015.
For the descendants of people who prided themselves on integrity and excellence, we must ask ourselves: is this the best we can do? The answer, sadly, is no. Not by a long shot.
There is no trust here, nor should there be.
There were serious ethnical questions as to the Kanaiolowalu spending. For example, according to public documents, Kanaiolowalu issued $673,285.75 to Makauila Inc. a nonprofit co-founded in 2010 by one of the Roll Commissioners. Makauila was the largest single recipient of funding from Kanaiolowalu.
While that Commissioner stepped off the organization’s board immediately prior to the organization receiving the funding, Makauila continued to work with his company, even sharing office space with his company, raising serious questions about the ethics of the Commission. This same Commissioner and others have now formed a slate to run as delegates in the upcoming ‘aha, potentially securing themselves tremendous influence over the future of the Hawaiian community and its vast resources.
The sad reality is that an alarming number of the candidates running as delegates for the Na‘i Aupuni ‘aha financially benefitted from the Roll Commission....
Many, myself included, feel Na‘i Aupuni is nothing but an elaborate attempt to coerce Hawaiians into handing over a powerful, reemerging national identity and force them into making a decision they do not fully understand. It is an effort to seize away Hawaiian trust resources by people who have sadly proven themselves untrustworthy....
SA: Nai Aupuni Candidates Criminal Records
read ... Tricia Watson
OHA Cronies Desperate to Organize Tribe Before Obama Leaves Office
Borreca: ...If time is short to draft rules for a national constitution for Hawaiian recognition, even more limiting is any sense of unity of purpose behind the calls for Hawaiian sovereignty.
The local process is closely linked to the federal Department of Interior’s efforts to draft rules for what a Hawaiian national constitution could contain. While supporters of the federal rules say there are no restrictions, the preliminary federal rules say no gambling, no touching of Hawaiian Home Lands and no changing the 50 percent blood quantum requirements.
All of that does nothing to tamp down divisions within the Hawaiian community. At one extreme there are those who argue that the actual Hawaiian Kingdom still exists, and there are more moderates who are more concerned about a process to pay for past federal land grabs.
Supporters understand that the timing on this process is still the most urgent component.
The process is moving forward because President Barack Obama, since he was a U.S. senator, has been a strong supporter of bills to enable Hawaiian recognition through legislation sponsored by former U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka....
It was former President Bill Clinton who signed the Apology Resolution passed by Congress in 1993, so there is some indication that a Hillary Clinton presidency would also look favorably on a process of recognition, but there are no guarantees. And if the next president is a Republican, recognition would be a political impossibility (and Hawaii would finally be saved from the Broken Trust gang) ....
read ... For Hawaiians, sovereignty comes with a few deadlines
Hirono, Gabbard to Return Criminal Al Hee Contributions
SA: U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard say they plan to reject political contributions made by embattled Honolulu telecommunications executive Al Hee, who was convicted in July of tax fraud after federal prosecutors accused him of skimming several million dollars from his company Waimana Enterprises to pay for lavish personal expenses, such as massages, jewelry and family vacations.
Company executives of Waimana Enterprises and its wholly owned subsidiary Sandwich Isles Communications have donated more than a half-million dollars to Democratic leaders and the Democratic Party over the past decade and a half, according to campaign spending records, with some of the biggest contributions going to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, former U.S. Rep. and Gov. Neil Abercrombie and former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
As political contributions poured in over the years, Hee’s companies continued to receive hefty subsidies from the Federal Communications Commission to support Internet and phone service on Hawaiian homelands despite ongoing media scrutiny about the size of the subsidies. In 2013 the FCC reduced the level of subsidies after an audit concluded that the companies’ corporate expenses were excessive and that large payments to affiliated companies owned by Hee or his family members were questionable.
On Friday the Hawaii Republican Party called on Democrats to return the political contributions in light of Hee’s conviction and ongoing investigations into Sandwich Isles’ operations and finances. GOP Chairman Fritz Rohlfing referred to the cycle of political contributions and ongoing government subsides as “crony capitalism.”
“Al Hee and Sandwich Isles played an integral part in perpetuating Hawaii’s one-party political machine and used their political contributions to line their own pockets,” Rohlfing said in a news release. “That’s why the Hawaii Republican Party calls upon all of the politicians who received political campaign contributions from Sandwich Isles and its corrupt leadership to immediately return those contributions.” ...
Neither U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz or U.S. Rep. Mark Takai received direct contributions from Hee, though Schatz did receive $4,750 from other officials at Waimana and Sandwich Isles.
In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions made to Hawaii Democrats over the years, company executives also donated heavily to the Hawaii Democratic Party and Democratic Party organizations in North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
President Barack Obama received $91,200 from Hee. Most of the money went to the Obama 2012 Victory Fund, according to campaign spending records.
read ... Two Down, Many to Go
Feds Sent Experts to Hawaii to Show State How to Spend Money
SA: The state just got a pat on the back from the feds for reducing its backlog of federally funded highway projects to $656.5 million — the smallest it’s been since 2002. But it’s still baffling that state transportation officials allowed the backlog to reach nearly $1 billion at its peak in 2010.
The backlog, also known as the Pipeline, reached $940 million in 2010. Nearly a billion dollars in federally funded highway projects on the road to nowhere. Naturally, the size of the Pipeline didn’t sit well with the Federal Highway Administration, which warned the state that Hawaii could lose out on federal transportation funding unless it processed its projects more quickly and reduced the backlog of unspent federal dollars.
The supersized Pipeline prompted the U.S. Department of Transportation to send teams of experts to Hawaii last year to review the state systems used to approve, process and fund federal projects. The state was advised on how to fix problems with the system.
read ... DOT must keep eye on spending
Kenoi: Homeless are Welcome on Big Island--No Sweeps Here
HTH: The yearly point-in-time homeless survey, taken early this year, counted 1,241 homeless people on Hawaii Island, a sharp increase from the 869 tallied in 2014 and more than twice the 2013 total of 557.
Homeless in East Hawaii can be found at night sleeping in local parks, including the Wailoa River State Recreation Area and the county’s Mooheau Park in downtown Hilo.
As for expanding enforcement of park hours to the Neighbor Islands, the governor said the state is “working with the mayors in each county, trying to understand what their situation is.” ...
Kenoi said there currently are “no plans for any sweeps like the ones we have been seeing in Kakaako” but officials here “will continue the enforcement actions that we have already been undertaking.”
“Our Community Policing officers are in our communities every day, and regularly patrol areas where homeless people congregate. Those officers coordinate and collaborate with service organizations to connect those who want help with the help they need,” the mayor said.
read ... Buy a Ticket to Hilo
Experts: If all you can do is Talk, It Can Take Years to Convince One Homeless to Accept Shelter
SA: "What we're finding is a lot of people who are homeless and who want help and need help are getting it right away. Folks who may be have mental illness or substance abuse problems, it's taking a lot longer," said Institute for Human Services senior outreach specialist Justin Phillips.
Over the past year, the number of homeless in Waikiki has dropped dramatically, officials say.
Of the 40 to 60 people who remain, say experts, most want nothing to do with homeless shelters. And most are chronically homeless.
Under federal guidelines, a chronically homeless person is defined as someone who has a disabling condition and has been continuously homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years.
Phillips says he's seen the same homeless woman in Waikiki periodically over the past three months. After multiple attempts to talk to her she hasn't even told him her name.
"When we first saw her she had wounds on her feet," he said. "We engage her. Ask her if she wants help. She won't look at us. She looks away."
Phillips says working with mentally ill can be extremely challenging. In some cases it can take years to build trust....
read ... Why Force Must be Applied
Maui PD Testing Body Cams
MN: The decision to continue testing body cameras on Maui police officers is a good proactive move by the department.
Halloween is next Saturday and at least some of the officers on duty on Front Street in Lahaina will be wearing the devices. A Maui News story on Wednesday's Police Commission meeting said use of the cameras on Halloween will basically be a continuation of testing that began last April.
"We're going to test the equipment and see how it works," Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu told the gathering.
If the test period is considered a success, the department will seek bids to see how much it will cost to purchase around 125 of the cameras. The story said prices of some of the cameras the department has tested were in the $400 to $600 range. The department has received a $78,000 grant from the Department of Justice to help offset the price of a purchase....
read ... Body Cams
Tonight is last public hearing for proposed NextEra-HECO deal
IM: The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Public Listening Sessions on the proposed NextEra acquisition of the Hawaiian Electric Companies completes its four county, six island circuit tonight at the McKinley High School Cafeteria, 1039 South King Street, in Honolulu....
Next up for the Commission is the start of the formal contested case hearing on November 30, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.
Originally 34 entities were scheduled to participate. This number has dropped to 31....
read ... Tonight is last public hearing for proposed NextEra-HECO deal
Takai Diagnosed with Pancreatic Tumor
SA: A spokesman for Takai’s office said his health problem caused him to miss some House votes Monday, and he is expected to miss some additional votes today.
Takai released a statement explaining that “the tests show that I have a small tumor in the pancreas and I will shortly begin treatment. My prognosis is very good thanks to early detection and my doctors are confident that I will make a speedy and full recovery.”
“I do not expect to be away from my duties for more than a brief period and look forward to quickly returning to serving the needs of my constituents in Hawaii,” Takai said in the statement.
read ... News Release
UH Chancellor: We Haven't Learned Anything from Arnold Firing, Will do it Again and Again
SA: Under questioning by legislators, Bley-Vroman defended his Oct. 28, 2014 firing announcement in an appearance before the State House Committee on Higher Education today.
Arnold received a $700,000 settlement this month that, in addition to bonuses and legal costs, is expected to cost the school in excess of $1 million, officials have said.
Asked by committee chairman Isaac Choy, "If you knew damages for firing Arnold would be over $1 million would you have let his contract run its course?" Bley-Vroman replied: "I cannot say I would have made a different decision if I had known differently."
read ... More to Come
Legislators Challenge Ige on Care Home Secrecy
DN: Keith Ridley of the Department of Health Office of Health Care Assurance indicated in phone conversations and in an interview with Civil Beat that no further reports will be posted due to lack of resources.
The Legislature authorized $148,000 for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 for two positions in the DOH, but neither position was hired. The appropriation was not renewed in the next budget and the positions remain unfilled.
As senator, you voted in support of HB120 (2013) which became Act 213. When campaigning for governor, you indicated that you would ensure the deadline was met. Civil Beat reported on September 13 that your office insisted that "the issue will be resolved soon."
SA: DOH delay in posting reports on care homes is criticized
read ... Care Homes Vote
More on airport maintenance issues
ILind: ...Defense #2 (paraphrased): Wait until you see our costly new airport modernization program! We’re projected to spend $2.7 billion statewide on new facilities.
That’s good, but…without an adequately planned, financed, and staffed system for repair and maintenance, it just means lot more new stuff to fall slowly into disrepair.
Defense #3: The thousands of travelers going through the airport daily makes keeping up with repairs a big job.
“Sakahara said nearly 40 custodial staff (two supervisors, 37 staff) are scheduled to clean the bathrooms throughout the day. But he added that they are short nine staff members on the graveyard shift.”
Two points to be made here. First, in most cases, it isn’t cleaning that’s the big issue. It’s the achingly slow process for repairing and replacing damaged facilities, even when the breakdowns can be predicted due to age, heavy use, etc.
And, second, there’s the “short staff” defense sneaking in, as if staffing levels are not something that is mostly within the control of the Airports Division (largely self-funded through fees, and not as heavily depending on legislative decisions as other departments)....
read ... Maintenance
Judge imposes fines related to Waimanalo Gulch landfill spill
KITV: The company received a $400,000 criminal fine and was ordered to pay $200,000 more in restitution.
Joseph Whelan and Justin Lottig were ordered to pay $25,000 each in fines as well. At the time of the event, Whelan was the Vice President of Waste Management of Hawaii and Lottig was the Environmental Manager.
The company says a new diversion system has been put in place and this type of event will not happen again.
read ... Landfill
Honolulu: Buying 5% More Expensive Than Renting
T: ...The rent vs. buy gap differs vastly across metros, largely because home prices and rents, property taxes, and home-price appreciation differs by metro. Taking these factors into account, young home buyers in the nation’s 100 markets would find that buying a home ranges from being 5% more expensive than renting in Honolulu to being 46% cheaper to buy a home in Houston.
The only other metro in the top 100 where buying is more expensive than renting a home for young buyers is San Jose, where they’d pay 2% more to buy a home than to rent. Rounding out the top 10 is New York, where buying is now 11% cheaper for younger consumers than renting.
Our rent vs. buy metric is especially tight for young prospective buyers in California. Of the 10 markets nationwide where buying vs. renting is a tougher call, seven are in the Golden State: San Jose, Orange County, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Ventura County....
read ... Trulia
Anti-GMO Activists Take Aim at Banana Growers
KE: ...in the stale, stagnant, soporific world of Babes Against Biotech, it's all black and white, good and bad. And now the misnamed “Babes” have decided that bananas genetically engineered to resist the destructive banana bunchy top (BBT) virus are evil incarnate....
read ... Musings: Yes, We have No Bananas
Latest Squawking from Anti-Aquarium Obsessives Will Likely be Ignored by legislature
CB: Collectors argue that they have a negligible impact on ocean resources, and that animal-rights activists want to shut down a multi-million-dollar industry they just don’t like.
“You can’t reason with that. It’s a moral position,” said Matt Ross, who’s been collecting aquarium fish on Oahu since graduating from the University of Hawaii in 2006 with a degree in marine biology.
He’s the rare collector who actually thinks the state should stiffen regulations, like limiting the number of permits and increasing their price, which is $50.
But he doesn’t feel a moratorium is needed. If it wasn’t coral bleaching, he said, the environmental groups would find something else to strengthen their case for an end to aquarium fishing.
“As a fisherman and someone who really does care about conservation, it’s really frustrating,” Ross said. “I’d rather have some sort of reasonable dialogue to manage fisheries in general rather than this black-and-white situation where there’s no compromise.”
Jessica Wooley, (who was dumped into a position as) outgoing director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, (to get her anti-GMO drivel out of the Legislature) has called on the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to implement a 180-day moratorium in light of unprecedented coral bleaching. (But we all know that coral bleaching is caused by shoreline TVRs with cesspools and by tourists with sunscreen--in short coral bleaching is caused by anti-GMO activists.)
read ... Another Round In The Fight Over Hawaii’s Aquarium Fishing