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Sunday, November 1, 2015
November 1, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:22 PM :: 3273 Views

Nai Aupuni Lets Candidates on Ballot With Fraudulent Registration

40,000 Hawaii Obamacare Enrollees Have to Start All Over with Feds

Taxing & Regulating Small Business to Death: Hawaii's Business Climate

63% of Americans Blame Mental Health—Not Guns—for Mass Shootings

Cost of Rail: $16K for Family of Four, Highest in USA

SA: As costs continue to climb, Honolulu rail remains by far the most expensive transit project per-capita being built in the U.S., a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis shows.

The 20-mile elevated, driverless rail system will now cost about $4,049 per each Oahu resident through the life of the project to complete, according to the latest budget projections and U.S. Census data.

The figure excludes an estimated 20 percent in tax contributions that visitors pay toward the project when they spend money on Oahu.

Out of the 20 other major mass-transit rail projects in the U.S. receiving federal funding, the Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension in San Jose, Calif., has the closest per-capita cost to Honolulu's — at $732 per person, the most recent data show.

Meanwhile, among the country's least expensive projects per-capita is an extension of Los Angeles' Westside Purple line. It costs just $79 per each person in that metropolitan area, according to census data and the Federal Transit Administration's 2016 budget....

Victor Geminiani, executive director of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, said that the GET funding rail is a regressive tax that burdens the island's lower-income residents more heavily than its higher-wage earners. The 20 percent of the state's population earning the least money pays about 13 cents of every dollar to GET, while the top 20 percent pays 7.5 cents, Geminiani said....

Out of the current group of 21 major mass-transit rail projects receiving federal support, Honolulu rail is also taking in the smallest percentage of federal dollars relative to its total cost, at 24 percent.... 

read ... Poor Hit Hardest

Ige Admin: OHA Should Have Mauna Kea Rent Money by Year's End

HTH: ...Ige at the meeting noted it as evidence of improved stewardship and part of his “10-point plan” for the mountain that was announced in May.

Several aspects of that plan, including the formation of a new cultural advisory council and the university returning more than 10,000 acres of the mountain to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, remain a work in progress.

Jodi Leong, a spokeswoman for the governor, said no appointments have been made for the council, which would advise DLNR and other state agencies.

That would be separate from another cultural advisory council that works under UH’s Office of Mauna Kea Management.

“The Governor and administration are in the process of working through the Mauna Kea 10-point plan,” she said in an email. “The formation of the advisory council is part of that process.” No timeline was offered.

Issues involving transfer of the land outside the astronomy precinct and the length of a new master lease for land covering the observatory facilities could be resolved by the end of the year, said Dan Meisenzahl, a UH spokesman.

UH’s existing lease for the mountain expires in 2033; a new lease would be needed for astronomy to continue beyond that date. An environmental impact statement for a new lease is on hold amid the protests.

“As soon as all of that is worked out,” Meisenzahl said, “which should be by the end of the year, if not sooner, it can be determined if we can continue the current EIS process with amended facts or if we need to start from scratch.”

read ... Ige reaffirms support for TMT, Mauna Kea stewardship

Ballots go out for Tribal election

HTH: Ballots begin going out today to the 95,000-plus Native Hawaiian voters who registered by the deadline to help choose 40 delegates to an aha, or constitutional convention.

The voters, who will be able to vote electronically or through the U.S. postal system, will pick from more than 200 listed candidates representing various geographical districts. Big Island voters will choose from 32 candidates running for seven seats. Voting ends Nov. 30....

The 40 candidates who prevail will meet in Honolulu in February to explore what it takes to reach consensus among Native Hawaiians regarding self-determination forming a Fake Indian Tribe. They also may propose a governing document (designed to form a Fake Indian Tribe) for a ratification vote.

Some Native Hawaiians are protesting the process, and six delegate candidates have asked to be taken off the list.

Divisions among Native Hawaiians about what some see as a U.S. government-guided process of recognition escalated Wednesday with the announcement by prominent Native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte of Molokai that he is dropping out of the race. Ritte urged a boycott of what he calls a “continuation of the U.S. goal to illegally occupy the Hawaiian Islands.”

Ritte and others say there is no need for the United States to recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people, similar to how Native American tribes are recognized on the mainland....

SA: Real Estate Developer Pushes Nai Aupuni

read ... Ballots go out

Norm Chow Next in Line for Giant UH Payout 

SA: Some of you will be disappointed. You want an outraged rant, you want another column detailing why coach Norm Chow should be immediately relieved of his duties as the University of Hawaii football coach.

But doing that again right now would just be piling on.

UH is either going to fire Chow or it isn't. It might happen today. I think that is very likely. But since the university has given him so much more rope than is standard for a Division I college football coach, we all have a lingering doubt....

UPDATE: Chow let go by University of Hawaii

read ... Pay day coming

Robbie Alm Running Ige Admin Policy on NextEra, Mauna Kea, Maui Memorial

SA: Robbie Alm has a dozen years of experience in the top management ranks of the state's largest utility, Hawaiian Electric Co ., and he has the ear of Gov. David Ige.That makes some people nervous....

Any potential buyer of HECO has "the burden of proof" to convince Hawaii residents that they embrace the state, its policy directions and its culture, "and just bluntly, I haven't seen that yet from NextEra," Alm said.

Alm and Ige have known each other for decades, and Ige invited Alm to serve in his Cabinet after Ige won his upset victory over former Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary last year. Alm declined the Cabinet offer, but served on Ige's transition team.

He helped interview applicants who applied to serve on the Cabinet, and Alm coached some of the people who were finally selected, but he has no official title of his own. He is unpaid, but has a desk in the governor's office....

Ige says he asked Alm to provide his expertise to help resolve some sticky problems, including the controversy over the development of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, and the effort to privatize the state-run Maui Memorial Medical Center....

As Ige rolls out his administration's energy policy, Alm's presence in the governor's office makes some uneasy because they are convinced he wields behind-the-scenes influence....

Oshima said simply that "nobody knows" what role Alm plays. Oshima said Alm was never present for his meetings with the governor to discuss Ige's opposition to the NextEra merger and LNG....

Others are quite pleased with the positions Ige is taking on energy issues, and are more comfortable with Alm's presumed involvement. Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, said representatives of his board of directors recently wrote to Ige to thank him for his positions on renewable energy.

"If that's the outcome, then I guess we're happy with the advice he's receiving and whatever is happening behind the scenes," Mikulina said. Blue Planet is a clean-energy advocacy organization, and Mikulina said he has met with Alm to discuss energy issues.

Totally Related: Blue Planet Will be Next to Endorse NextEra

read ... Insider

A festering pig carcass, false promises and coach buyouts

Shapiro: » The state is officially shutting its Obamacare exchange after blowing $300 million on the inept health care enrollment program. It's a crying shame when there are so many other inept state programs that $300 million could have been wasted on....

» University of Hawaii-Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman told lawmakers he won't second-guess his buyout of fired basketball coach Gib Arnold, which cost taxpayers $700,000. He's too busy raising funds for a buyout of soon-to-be-fired football coach Norm Chow....

» A dead pig was left on a Palolo sidewalk for days before authorities removed it. Nearby residents said it smelled like the city ethics ruling that excused gifts from rail lobbyists taken by current and former Council members Ann Kobayashi, Ikaika Anderson and Donovan Dela Cruz.

And the quote of the month ... from rail CEO Daniel Grabauskas on soaring project costs: "The message that we want to send to folks is that no one's going to come back to be asking for more money than the (tax) extension that was already passed by the Legislature and the governor." The only thing growing faster than the rail budget is Grabauskas' nose.

read ... Festering

Schatz is mobilizing in support of Clinton

SA: U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is spending the weekend in Maine and Boston, fundraising and offering his support and advice to some grass-roots groups that are mobilizing for the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Schatz, who announced his support for Clinton for president last spring, said she needs to focus her energies right now on early primary and caucus states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign was looking for people to campaign on her behalf in other areas, and Schatz offered to help.

read ... Schatz is mobilizing in support of Clinton

Hawaii State Hospital Filled by Criminals Faking Mental Illness

SA: ...The Kaneohe hospital does not take care of residents with mental health issues; instead, it is 100 percent filled with patients who were ordered there by the courts. It is also running a $4.8 million yearly deficit.

"Many of the individuals hospitalized at HSH either do not require inpatient psychiatric services, do not have bona fide mental illness, or remain in HSH much longer than clinically necessary," said Stanley's report.

The patients have dementia, traumatic brain injuries, developmental delays, substance abuse and medical problems. According to the report, they are there because "courts either cannot require or cannot identify a more appropriate placement."

You don't have to be sent to the Kaneohe hospital because the courts found you not guilty of a crime because of insanity; the courts could just be waiting for you to be judged sane enough to stand trial....

PDF: "Special Action Team Report"

read ... New Hawaii State Hospital needs urgency, not 7 years

Learn more from teacher evaluations

SA: The current evaluations scored 98 percent of teachers as "effective" or "highly effective," the levels that qualify them for pay raises their union gains through collective bargaining. Compared with the previous year, when the evaluation system was inaugurated, fewer teachers received "marginal" ratings, the level at which they're given a chance to improve, or "unsatisfactory" scores, which can be grounds for termination.

A legitimate criticism raised by BOE member Jim Williams concerned the matrix used to gauge the overall rating. A teacher given a marginal score in one of the two areas studied -- teacher practice and student growth and learning -- could still be rated effective overall.

Of the workforce, 4,206 (35 percent) were rated highly effective, and 7,478 (63 percent) finished in the effective range. Though she lauded the general performance, board member Patricia Halagao said she's "just wondering what does this reveal about the evaluation system itself," whether it's rigorous.

read ... Learn more from teacher evaluations

Hawaii One of Only Six States Which do not Decertify Police Officers for Wrongdoing

AP:  Over a yearlong period, the AP collected and analyzed decertification records nationwide from 2009 through 2014. Of the nearly 9,000 cases in which officers were decertified, about 1,000 officers lost their licenses for conduct that the AP found included sexual assault, sex crimes such as possessing child pornography and misconduct that ranged from propositioning citizens to consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse....

While the AP's review is the most comprehensive available -- 41 states provided decertification information -- the number is an undercount. Some states did not provide information, and even among states that did, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via official records and news stories.

Six states, including some with the nation's largest law enforcement agencies, said they did not decertify officers for misconduct and kept no official tally of officer wrongdoing. They are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Three states -- Louisiana, Maryland and North Carolina -- did not provide information to the AP. The District of Columbia said it had no process for certification.

Standards for revoking an officer's license varied: Almost every state in the U.S. can decertify an officer convicted of a felony. More than 30 have the ability to also decertify for misconduct that may not be criminal. But some states have no reporting requirements, leaving it to local law enforcement to seek the removal of an officer's license or instead let him or her quietly leave the force....

Read ... Decertify

With homeless gone, visitors return to Kakaako children’s center

KHON: With the homeless encampment that once surrounded the Children’s Discovery Center gone in Kakaako, parents said they felt more at ease taking their children to a Halloween event Saturday.

The costumed youngsters played games,and participated in science activities throughout the day. A motorcycle club even stopped by to pass out candy....

For more details on upcoming events at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center click here.

read ... Children Return

Burning safe, more environmentally sound than 'green harvesting' cane

MN:  ...harvesting cane unburned, sometimes called green harvesting, would actually have negative environmental effects, increasing our use of fossil fuels? More transportation fuel is needed to power the heavy equipment used to harvest and transport green cane, and more energy is needed to haul extra soil that comes into the factory with unburned cane back into our fields.

With regard to the issue of health impacts, since 1984, numerous studies were conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Center for Disease Control and the UH School of Medicine to determine whether there were health impacts associated with our burning process. The results are on record, and do not support the claims and stories circulated by opponents about agricultural burning causing health impacts....

MN: Cane burning practiced since 1908

read ... Cane Burning

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