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Thursday, November 12, 2015
November 12, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:04 PM :: 4327 Views

Mauna Kea: DLNR Schedules Aerial Eradication ‘Simultaneous’ to Telescope Work

Hawaii Now Only State in Nation Without Sex Trafficking Law

HECO: 'Time of Use' Rate Hike Coming

Hawaii earns a D- for Civil Forfeiture Laws

Full Text: Veterans Sue for Voting Rights in US Territories

Let's Create a Higher Standard for Ethical Government

Voting Begins for Maunalua Bay Advisory Committee

Video: Fixing What's Wrong with Welfare

Rail: $450M Cost of Electric Lines not Factored into Budget

KHON: The feds flagged it as a critical problem and since then, tensions have escalated and the costly fix still isn’t in place.

It’s gotten to the point that the top brass of both the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and Hawaiian Electric are meeting weekly trying to hash out who should pay for what. Many say it’s a tab easily in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and the train’s very operation depends on it.

Take just the cost to put wire underground in all the tight corridors where you can’t have a high-voltage live wire running alongside a speeding train.

“It was under $100 million, as I recall, and that’s not enough,” Hanabusa said.

Add to that the cost of a substation needed to power the rail operation center that HART didn’t budget for.

“I suspect it’s something in the $150 million or more so for them, since it was not planned part of the design,” Prevedouros said.

Then there’s the tab for, and who is going to do, the relocation of power lines that is specifically left out of the relocation contract for all other utilities in the airport area.

Hanabusa confirms that could be a couple hundred million dollars more…. ($200M + $100M + $150M = $450M)

HART’s federal oversight contractor this summer called HECO-related costs “HART’s most significant risk to the project.”

The contractor also revealed that a HECO quote had come in so high, it wanted HART to get a better price and get the power issue resolved no later than fall 2015.

HART and HECO won’t disclose what that high number was….

read … rail power

Martin: Rail Better Without Federal Money, Federal Rules

SA: City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he’s tired of being told that the $6.57 billion rail project cannot be changed because the city is being “held hostage” by the conditions of a $1.55 billion federal grant.

So Martin wants the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit to consider saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” to approximately $1 billion in unused federal funding if it frees the city from constraints over routing or other project details.

Martin made his comments to HART Chairman Don Horner at a Council Budget Committee meeting Monday night at Washington Middle School. The committee is considering Bill 23, which would allow the city to extend, through 2027, a 0.5 percent surcharge Oahu consumers pay on the state general excise tax.

read … Save Money by Losing $1.5B

Bid by Criminal Hee to dismiss tax fraud convictions is rejected

SA: Federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway has rejected a bid by telecommunications entrepreneur Al Hee to have his seven federal tax convictions vacated, and has also rejected Hee’s request for a new trial….

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. owes $108.6 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for loans it obtained to finance its telecommunications network on Hawaiian homelands, and has been in default on those loans since 2013.

In other fallout from the federal tax case, the Federal Communications Commission in June interrupted payments of high-cost Universal Service Fund subsidies to Sandwich Isles pending an FCC audit of the company’s finances. That halt in federal subsidies is costing Sandwich Isles about $1.6 million per month, according to federal records.

State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands officials are also looking into issues related to the company. A spokeswoman for DHHL said in July the agency would undertake a “review and assessment” of Sandwich Isles to determine whether Hee’s legal problems could affect services for homesteaders.

read … Rejected

Maui: Massive Electric Rate Hike Proposed—But Thanks to Decoupling, Only a Small Portion is Subject to Review

MN: Maui Electric Co. customers would pay approximately 28 cents more per month on Maui Island and 22 cents more on Molokai and Lanai under a rate adjustment proposed late last month to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

The estimated cost impact is based on typical monthly power consumption of 500 kilowatt hours for a Maui residence and 400 kilowatt hours on Molokai and Lanai, according to MECO.

The utility said the proposed increase is in addition to the annual rate adjustment mechanism (RAM) approved by the PUC to cover the cost of plant additions. Recovery of costs above the annual rate adjustment mechanism cap is permissible with prior approval of the commission, MECO said.

The proposed increase is on top of a rate adjustment that went into effect on June 8. That change added approximately 95 cents per kilowatt hour, or $4.74 per month, for a typical 500 kilowatt hours monthly residential bill on Maui and $3.80 per month for a typical monthly residential bill on Molokai and Lanai, the utility said….

As Explained: Decoupling: How HECO's "Money Printing Machine" Causes High Electric Rates

read … Shocking

Second round of Kakaako homeless enforcement to begin Thursday

HNN: Signs have been posted.  Starting Thursday if you're caught in Kakaako Water Front Park or Kewalo Basin after hours you'll be cited for trespassing. 

Problems at the parks started within days of the city completing its high profile sweep near the Children's Discovery Center.

Wednesday dozens of tents could be seen in either park.  The number of homeless camping in Kakaako Waterfront Park nearly doubled over the past few weeks.

"Every morning we would have five or six people urinating in our shrubbery," said Paul Allard….

The owner of a convenience store in Ward has been dealing with problems of her own.  Shoplifters, many of them homeless, target her store on a daily basis.

"So many times I catch them.  But every time I cannot call police because it's only a little thing, right," said the shop owner.

The woman didn't want to show her face fearing retaliation.  Ten days ago she got banged up confronting a thief….

"I think our politicians are wimps because they have the power to go after these people. Us as individuals can't do anything about it and it's very disheartening," said Allard.

Outreach specialist continue to work to try and get these people into a shelter.  Many of the homeless we spoke with today said they've been there and they don't want to go back.

read … Force them to Accept Shelter

Aiea Homeless Camp Burns

HNN: Hawaii News Now spoke with a homeless man who stressed that he likes living out there, free of homeless shelter rules. But he was glad fire crews were able to stop the flames from burning his tent and property.
Area residents and bike path users have been increasingly complaining about the homeless encampments along the unlit bike path in the Pearl City and Aiea areas that they say are often riddled with camps, trash and illegal activities such as drug use and bicycles thefts.
It's unclear at this point who owns the land that this particular homeless encampment sits on and what actions can be taken to address the problems raised by residents.

read … Refusing Shelter

Obamacare website crashes (again), delays enrollment

SA: More than a week after the start of open enrollment,the Hawaii Health Connector is still struggling to get people re-enrolled in Obamacare coverage before their health insurance policies expire on Dec. 31.

The Connector said Wednesday it lost the opportunity to enroll hundreds of people over the weekend because the federal exchange,healthcare.gov, was not working.

The federal system was down for maintenance from2 p.m. Saturday during about 20 outreach events and then unexpectedly crashed on Sunday during another 10 events, said Eric Alborg, the Connector’s deputy executive director.

“Some of our more significant community outreach events on Sunday are with our faith-based groups.Nobody was able to get through the process,” he said. “It means that we will need to schedule another appointment or follow up separately, which impacts the overall number of people we can potentially support through the enrollment process.”

read … Again and Again and Again

Protesters will be told when work resumes

HTH: Thirty Meter Telescope opponents can expect to be alerted before contractors return to Mauna Kea later this month, according to a state Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman.

But how that notice will be given and when remains to be seen.

“We’re still working out the details based on when TMT says it will actually do their maintenance and repairs,” said Dan Dennison, DLNR senior communications manager.

After months of waiting because of protests, the TMT International Observatory announced Tuesday a “small crew of local workers” will go to the telescope construction site near the summit later this month to conduct “site preparation activities, starting with equipment maintenance and repairs.” No date was announced.

Based on a verbal agreement with the Mauna Kea “protectors,” DLNR said it would tell them which day workers will return to the TMT site if they in return stopped camping on the mountain at night.

TMT opponent Lanakila Mangauil said the protesters expect the state to keep its part of the bargain.

“They said they wanted to have a meeting with us,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s kind of up in the air right now.”

Big Q: What do you think about Thirty Meter Telescope work resuming soon on Mauna Kea? -- A. Good; about time (86%)

read … Protesters

Mauna Kea’s Southern Twin to be Finished in 2022

IBT: The world's largest optical telescope called the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be built on a mountaintop in Chile, South America. The telescope with a diameter of 25 meters will be functional from 2022.

After a ceremony, bulldozers would soon begin leveling a road next year for the 2,516 metre summit telescope which will weigh 1,100 tons, Arstechnica reported.

"We are ready. We are going to be aggressive on construction," said Patrick McCarthy, Interim president of the GMT organisation, told the website from the site in Chile.

The 200 workers on the difficult mountain terrain would lay the instrument's foundation and complete the dome of the telescope by 2020. Only then will they be able to install the telescope by 2022….

(Will TMT even be started by 2022?)

The estimated cost of building the telescope is around $1.05 billion.

Work has already started on the most critical and important aspect of the telescope—its mirrors.

read … World's largest telescope planned in Chile may be functional by 2022

Coercive Nature Of Na’i Aupuni Process Ultimately Dooms It To Failure

Osorio: Claiming to be able to produce an entity that can speak with one voice for our people is not at all credible….

In a supremely important way, our diverse political and social movements are what our Lāhui has come to be….

What some people have portrayed as disunity and confusion, I see as a vital, informed and diverse movement to self-correct 100 years of colonial-style education and suppression of our culture and our national identity.

This diverse and vigorous movement is what has, in the last 50 years, obstructed the attempt by the powerful players in government, business and labor to sell Hawaii literally and figuratively and since the first rendition of the Akaka Bill in 1994, the Democratic Party has sought to remove us as an obstruction by making a creature of its own, something that can claim to be the sole voice of the Hawaiian people and with which future agreements can be made.

And the pilikia is that Kanaʻioluwalu and Naʻi Aupuni have both created as much cynicism as hope in the Hawaiian community and thus have contributed to an actual disunity and not just a theoretical one.

But claiming to be able to produce an entity that can speak with one voice for our people is not at all credible given 1) our history, 2) our current reality, and 3) the way these agencies have gone about their work.

Naʻi aupuni’s claim that it can be independent of Act 195 is scarcely believable, not just because of the wording of Act 195 but because of the interference by the Department of the Interior to smooth the way to federal recognition and federal recognition only. But Naʻi aupuni’s greatest failure has been its insistence on a timeline that has forced Hawaiians to choose something that has no clear objective and to make that choice within an arbitrary deadline, all the while intimating that this was somehow our last chance to participate in the rebuilding of our nation.

It is the coercive nature of this process that ultimately dooms it to failure. This I believe, because I know our people and our history, and I have seen us choose to eat stones before.

And coercion has been the hallmark of this whole process, from the legislation’s insistence that our own resources at OHA pay for the roll and the convention to the tune of more than $6 million, to Kanaʻioluwalu’s request to roll over names from other Hawaiian enrollments into its own. And now Naʻi Aupuni seduces independence supporters into signing up, claiming that independence too is a possible outcome of the convention.

And here is where I go from skepticism to outrage….

LN: Like it or not, Na‘i Aupuni process is moving forward

read … Doomed

Fees Eliminated Make Housing Affordable

SA: …Stanford Carr Development’s 11-story rental project on Piikoi and Kona streets, where all 128 units will be priced for those earning 30 to 60 percent of median income, a welcome price point.

But these units won’t come cheap, literally and figuratively, given some generous governmental concessions. Exemptions for the 400-foot-tall SamKoo project, for instance, will cost the city more than $15 million in waived fees, including elimination of a $14.3 million park dedication fee that the city Department of Planning and Permitting rightly questioned. Carr’s Piikoi rental project will be helped by deferral of sewer hookup fees, as well as the free site it was deeded by Alexander & Baldwin to fulfill the latter’s affordable-housing obligation in Kakaako….

read … Eliminate Fees

The city might not track trash, but voters sure do

SA: Most of us pay for city services that we rarely use. Some people can go for years without ever calling the police or the fire department. Many will go their whole life without ever applying for a building permit. It is possible to be born and raised on Oahu and never ride TheBus. It’s important that those services are there, but they’re not for everyone all the time.

Then there’s trash pickup, which everyone expects on a regular basis. We’ll pay for all the other things that we might never use, but by God, the trash needs to get picked up.

For more than a week, trash pickup on parts of Oahu just didn’t happen….

read … Trash

State RICO Office restrains medical board from doing better

SA: …The articles, which ran in the Star-Advertiser Sunday through Tuesday, implied that if there were more public members on the board, these lapses in discipline would not be occurring. The obvious sensationalism is the suggestion of a “good ol’ boy” network of doctors who look out for each other, like the priesthood.

The articles only vaguely skirted at the overweighing factor in the cause of the problems cited, that being the administrative and bureaucratic lag of Hawaii’s system of discipline in its regulated industries.

Furthermore, this is not unique to the medical board whatsoever. The role of the state Regulated Industry Complaints Office (RICO) pervades this issue for all licensing boards.

Making the insinuations more egregious, the writers seemed to be well aware of the underlying process of disciplinary actions the board must follow….

read … Medical Board

Hitachi's control of Ansaldo's Honolulu rail transit contract questioned

PBN: Uncertainty has sparked over the ownership of Ansaldo, the Italian-car maker that has a $1.4 billion contract to build and operate the train cars for Honolulu’s rail transit system, as activist investor Amber Capital could stand in the way of its purchase by Hitachi, according to a Reuters article.

Last week, Hitachi Ltd. finalized its purchase of the rail car-maker, which was awarded the contract with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in 2011.

However on Tuesday, activist investor Amber Capital threw a wrench in the works, as Reuters reported it had asked Italy’s market watchdog, Consob, to decide whether Hitachi should raise its bid for Ansaldo STS….

read … Questioned

Hawaii airports energy upgrade project to save $500M over 20 years

PBN: The state Department of Transportation’s Airport Energy Savings Program is expected to result in nearly $500 million in energy cost savings during a 20-year period, the state’s Energy Office said this week.

In 2013, the DOT entered into an energy savings contract with Johnson Controls Inc., which guaranteed reduction of energy use by nearly 50 percent….

The project started construction in Jan. 2014 and is expected to be completed with the installation of efficiency improvements in Dec. 2016.

Besides the $496.2 million in guaranteed savings in energy costs over a 20-year period, the project is expected to save $20.2 million in tax revenues, $148.5 million in income to households and generate 867 jobs each year for the first two years of construction/installation.

It also will use $4.3 million in energy efficiency rebates from Hawaii Energy, 74,500 light fixtures and 372 transformer replacements, as well as 8,748 solar photovoltaic panels for a total of 5.2-megawatts installed.

Additionally, there will be upgrades and the replacement of chilled water and air conditioning systems, installation of smart controls to maximize efficiency, indoor air quality and occupant comfort….

PBN: Honolulu Airport modernization project gets boost of confidence and savings from eager investors

read … $500M

PUC Fills Empty Positions

CB: For years criticized as woefully understaffed, the Public Utilities Commission has lawyered up and hired new policy researchers, a compliance chief and executive officer, among other positions.

In fact, Randy Iwase has added so many employees since he took over as chairman that the agency has run out of room in its downtown office building. He’s increased the overall staff from 32 to 50 workers since January when he was appointed by Gov. David Ige.

read … Reinforcements

War Crimes on Kauai?

ILind: Since when did collecting taxes become pillaging and a war crime?

read … Keanu Sai at it Again

Homosexual Child Molester Busted for Third Time—May Finally Do Serious Time

HNN: Kormanik is being held without bail at the Federal Detention Center.  The prosecutor said he is a danger to the community.

Neighbors in Kalihi say they were stunned to find FBI agents at Kormanik's apartment.  The 54-year old was known as "Uncle Mike" and it wasn't unusual for teenage boys to congregate at the apartment.  One young boy told me "Uncle Mike" would take neighborhood boys fishing and invite them over to listen to music.  But the boy said "Uncle Mike" never hurt anyone.

Kormanik was arrested by Honolulu Police In 1990, for sexually assaulting an 8-year old boy.  He admitted back then, that he had attacked the child more than 50 times and told the detective that "he was sexually attracted to boys about 13 years of age... the adolescence kind."

He was sentenced to one year in jail (Pathetic.) and five years of supervised release. In 1997, he was arrested again for criminal contempt of court.  His probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 10 years.

He faces up to 40 years in federal prison for the new charges….

read … "I'm busted." Convicted child predator admits to new crimes

Soft on Crime: Year Log Crime Spree Nets 11 Months Jail

KGI: A Kapaa man tied to nine criminal cases and charged with a multitude of offenses was sentenced to 11 months in jail and four years of probation.

Jacob Henry Matthews, 29, appeared before Fifth Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano last week to hear the sentencing on six separate cases against him.

For five of the six felony convictions he received a sentence of 11 months in jail with credit for time served and four years of HOPE probation to run concurrently. He is also required to pay more than $16,000 in restitution to the victims.

For the sixth misdemeanor offense, he was sentenced to six months in jail and one year probation, also to run concurrently.

According to various reports and court testimony heard on the day of his sentencing, Matthews went on a year-long, drug-fueled crime spree, committing several residential burglaries and thefts starting in March 2014.

read … Spree

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