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Sunday, November 15, 2015
November 15, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:15 PM :: 3395 Views

Hawaii Is Holding an Election That Only Allows People of Certain Racial Background to Vote

Full Text: State, Feds Defend Nai Aupuni Election Before 9th Circuit Court

How energy prices are elevated by the Jones Act

Working on the Fringe

Hawaii Reacts to Latest Muslim Atrocity

Ige: ‘Clean’ Energy Requires More Air Pollution

SA: Gov. David Ige is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to postpone or waive new regulations that restrict the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants that Hawaii’s power plants can release into the air, arguing that the rules will distract from Hawaii’s push to convert to clean energy.

The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards are expected to take effect in April, though a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling raises questions about whether the EPAcan legally make Hawaii companies comply with the national standards without first conducting a cost analysis for the state.

“I’m seeking flexibility from the federal government in dealing with the MATS rule because I’m committed to 100 percent (renewable energy),” Ige said during an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last month. “My pitch to the federal regulators is I believe we get more value by directing all of the investment in renewables. And as we increase the use of renewables, we burn less oil and therefore we emit less emissions, period.”….

(Translation: The new EPA rules would force HECO to switch to LNG and that would sharply reduce electric costs, thus making ‘clean’ energy financially unattractive….)

The new EPA rules, which curb emissions for oil- and coal-fired power plants, impact a total of a dozen HECO-owned generating units at Kahe Power Plant and Waiau Power Plant on Oahu….

HECO had estimated that it would cost about $1.4 billion to install air quality controls at its power plants to comply with MATS, as well as other air quality rules that are expected to go into effect in 2025, according to a 2013 analysis done by the utility.  (UNLESS…they go to LNG.  But wait, they have a plan….)

Subsequently, however, HECO found that switching to a cleaner-burning fuel (See how carefully they avoid mentioning LNG here?) would satisfy the emissions requirements and be a lot less costly. The utility estimates that the MATS-compliant fuel could add $2 to $3 to the monthly electricity bill of a typical residential customer. HECO has already contracted with Chevron to supply the fuel, (which is not LNG) if needed, according to state regulatory filings. 

(Translation: The ‘clean’ energy crowd is safe because we found a more-expensive fuel to satisfy the EPA and save us from LNG cleanliness and the lower electric bills it would bring.)

read … EPA vs ‘Clean’ Energy

Rail Cost Overruns: Just the Beginning

Shapiro: Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation inexplicably continue to resist any Plan B to control runaway rail costs resulting from their miscalculations and misrepresentations.

Caldwell and HART CEO Daniel Grabauskas, they of the defunct “on time, on budget” promises, were studies in passive aggression at City Council hearings on the proposed five-year extension of the half-cent rail excise tax.

They doggedly stuck to new claims that the increase, which would add $1.6 billion to the $5.2 billion in local and federal funds already dedicated to rail, will be enough to finish the 20-mile line from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

That’s unlikely for a project first budgeted at $5.2 billion and now at $6.57 billion.

After building less than half the guideway, HART has already burned through a $1 billion contingency fund that was supposed to last the entire project, plus $1.3 billion in further overruns. (Total $2.3B so far)

With the remaining guideway, 21 stations and 80 rail cars yet to be built and unresolved property and power costs, it strains credibility that there won’t be more overruns.

Even if the Council approves the $1.6 billion tax extension, there’s little cushion for further hitches….

SA:  Don't deviate from original plan for rail (HART has already ‘deviated’ by $2.3B.  Hello? Hello?)

read … Contingency

RailBux: Caldwell Holds $4000/plate Campaign Fundraiser in DC 

KHON: KHON2 learned about the mayor’s fundraiser in D.C. through the Hawaii state website, where every fundraiser must be filed with the campaign spending commission.

The document states the fundraiser was held Thursday, Nov, 12, at a luxury hotel in the Georgetown neighborhood.

The suggested contribution per person varied from $500 to $4,000.

KHON2 asked campaign chair Lex Smith if the mayor’s campaign will offset any costs to travel.

“We anticipated there might be questions raised about the fact that the mayor was not only doing business but campaign business, so the campaign paid for the entire trip,” said Smith.

read … Rail Money

Hawaii Voters Reject Scandal-Tainted Candidates

Borreca: …"If Kenoi runs for another office, I don't think he'll win," Moore said, explaining that while Kenoi is known and liked on Hawaii island, he is unknown except for the pCard spending scandal across the rest of the state.

Also, voters are likely to reject a corruption- or scandal-touched candidate. For instance, the labor and construction-backed super PAC attached to Pacific Resource Partners ran a successful negative campaign in 2012 against the longtime Democrat, former Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"Think, for example, of how harmful the PRP's corruption attack campaign was for Cayetano -- and those allegations were largely discredited. In Kenoi's case, they will all be true," Moore said.

read … Reject

To End Homelessness: Close Mass Shelters, Build Individual Rooms

SA: …If Hawaii wants to make progress in reducing homelessness -- both sheltered and unsheltered - fundamental change needs to happen.  This is how it would look:

>> Defund all current drop-in outreach services.

Current drop-in services focus on keeping homeless people on the streets by acting primarily as a post office and toothbrush pickup center.

Outreach services have failed, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of people located during the annual homeless counts cannot even be found in the state's homeless database.

Outreach funds must be linked to permanent housing placements.

>> Convert all homeless shelters into permanent housing.

It is time to dismantle the entire homeless shelter system. Conversion of all shelters will eliminate any incentives to use the homeless system for access to housing subsidies.

The shelter system is also built on a faulty notion that people will move from homelessness to self-sufficiency in a matter of months.

The truth is that more than 90 percent of the "successful outcomes" are families who transfer from the shelter to another subsidized living situation.

All the shelters -- emergency and transitional -- should be converted into permanent housing.

If Father Du Teil were alive today, I am certain he would be laying the bricks himself for a new Institute for Human Services Men's House with small permanent rooms, knowing that is the only real solution.

IHS' 100 women-in-a-room shelter needs the same treatment. These and other Oahu shelters are expensive failed solutions….

>> Build a COFA refugee facility.

With regard to the Compact of Free Association population, the fact is that the Micronesians and Marshallese are not homeless. They are economic refugees.

COFA persons do not suffer from behavioral issues related to serious mental illness and active substance abuse like the vast majority of people we refer to as homeless. They are merely escaping the poor conditions of their native island nations.

While I oppose a "homeless encampment area," I am absolutely in support of setting up a COFA refugee housing facility operated by local COFA leaders that can serve as a way station until they get housing in Hawaii or relocate in other mainland areas where COFA communities have emerged (California, Oregon, Texas and Florida).

For the last 15 years, the homeless service system in Hawaii has done an excellent job at increasing the number of people who are homeless. Let's try something different….

TT: Safe Harbor Volunteer Speaks Out

read … Michael Ullman

Protesters Burn Na’i Aupuni Ballots

FH: Photos from the BBQ at the Capitol, Friday November 13….

read … Burn baby burn

Claims of war crimes on Kauai

ILind: …My Civil Beat column this week tackled another bizarre case created by David Keanu Sai, the political scientist who has been promoting his theory that the annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. never happened, and spinning out fictional accounts of what he claims are the results of that failed annexation…..

read … Keanu Sai at it again

Competing Interests Debate Education

Legislation to increase State Licensing oversight on the way

SA: …Rep. Della Au Belatti, chairwoman of the House Committee on Health, called the newspaper reports stunning and said she intends to introduce legislation in the session that starts in January to deal with concerns raised in the series.

“Clearly, there are serious issues that need to be addressed,” Belatti said.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chairwoman of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health, also said she intends to introduce legislation, noting that some concerns relate to lack of resources while others are statute-based.

“There is always room for improvement,” Baker said, referring to issues that affect the boards for all licensed professionals, not just doctors, who are regulated by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Sen. Josh Green, the only practicing physician in the Legislature, said he would support measures to increase public protection and make the oversight system more transparent.

Green described as crazy those cases uncovered by the newspaper in which physicians lost their licenses elsewhere because of misconduct but were able to continue practicing in Hawaii for long periods before local regulators took action. “I definitely think they should clean that up,” he said.

The senator also said it was outrageous that physician assistants who had separate expunged California convictions for statutory rape and planning a home invasion were able to get unrestricted Hawaii licenses but were denied credentials in California. Both cases were highlighted in the newspaper series….

read … Increase Oversight

New Queens hospital eyed for Kona

WHT: There are hundreds of acres of state land just across the highway above Kona International Airport that would make a convenient home for a new Kona hospital — one which could serve a teaching function….

The cramped and aging 94-bed hospital in Kealakekua has no room to expand. Like the other facilities in the state’s hospital safety net, it has bled red ink for years. Kona Community Hospital plugged a $6 million budget gap by closing down the skilled nursing unit and eliminating 34 positions over the summer.

The hospital is facing a similar $7 million gap for the coming fiscal year. That’s due to an increase in $3 million in costs for retiree benefits, $2 million in employee raises and a $2 million reduction in state funding.

The movement toward public-private partnerships is bound to meet resistance from the unions, and it wouldn’t hurt to sit back and watch how the things shake out as Maui’s three hospitals transition to Kaiser Permanente, Creagan said. But the push is raising awareness that money is going to have to be put into the hospital system one way or another, he said.

“We have support for sure,” Creagan said. “We have the medical school buying in, and I’m meeting with the head of Queen’s next week. … We have two physicians, one in the House and one in the Senate. We’re in a pretty good position to push it forward.”

Kona Sen. Josh Green, a Kohala emergency room doctor, said he supports the plan. Building an entire new hospital would require $300 million in funding, however, he said. For that to be realized, a full public-private partnership between the hospital and The Queen’s Medical Center would need to develop, he said. Green said he will introduce legislation enabling such a partnership as soon as the parties are ready and ask for it.

The Legislature passed similar rules this past session, but they were specific to Maui’s hospitals, which are widely regarded as a developing test case for privatization of Hawaii’s public hospitals….

SA: Wahiawa on verge of constructing much-needed community health center

read … New hospital eyed

Hunters: State violating aerial shooting ban

HTH: The Department of Land and Natural Resources is conducting aerial eradication of feral ungulates in four Maui state forest reserves — and that’s making some hunters on the Big Island and Maui uneasy.

The Maui News reported Nov. 5 the DLNR plans to close areas within the Koolau, Hana, West Maui and Kahikinui state forest reserves for control of feral cattle, pigs, deer and goats. Aerial shooting operations took place Nov. 6 and 12, and are scheduled for Nov. 25 and Dec. 4, 11 and 18.

“They shouldn’t be shooting,” said Jeff DeRego, president of Maui Hunters and Sportsman Club. “They’re shooting, and they’re doing it in places that are actually hunting areas.”

At issue is whether or not Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara barred the state and its contractors from shooting at animals from aircraft on Dec. 17, 2014, when he dismissed a civil suit against Hawaii County by the state, which sought to exempt its employees and contractors from enforcement of county and state laws banning aerial hunting.

The hunters maintain the judge ruled state employees and contractors aren’t exempt from Hawaii Revised Statutes 263-10, which makes shooting at animals from aircraft a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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

read … Shooting

Dengue: DoH Spraying in Anti-Pesticide Activism Areas

HNN: The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak. As of 12:00 noon yesterday the Department of Health has reported 38 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island. These cases include 30 residents and eight visitors.

The Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases and will be conducting spraying at various locations in the areas of Napoopoo, Honaunau, Capt. Cook, Ookala, Papaaloa, Keaau, and Mt. View.

Public Information Meetings on Dengue Fever will be held at the following locations:

Monday November 16th at the Hilo High Cafeteria

Tuesday November 17th at the Keaau High Cafeteria

All meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. each and the community is encouraged to attend.

WHT: Reps Push for Expensive Mobile Testing Labs to Reach Isolated Hippies

read … Pesticides

Some Pacific Democrat superdelegates see Rubio as strongest opponent

AP: Most Democratic Party leaders in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa don't know or don't want to say which Republican candidate would be the most formidable opponent for their own party's presidential nominee.

But of superdelegates from the region who answered the question, most thought U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida would make the strongest.

Therese Hunkin of American Samoa said the "worst" candidate for Democrats would be Marco Rubio, as he's "youthful, telegenic, slick and a formidable debater."

"He's able to stand on his feet and communicate well," said Guam Legislature Sen. Nerissa Underwood of Rubio….

The Associated Press contacted all 712 superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention next summer, and asked them which Republican they thought would be their party's strongest opponent in the general election.

Of the 176 superdelegates who answered the question, 65 said Rubio, the first-term senator from Florida, would be the Democrats' strongest opponent. Forty-five said Ohio Gov. John Kasich would be the strongest, while 36 said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush….

ABC: Hillary Clinton Invokes 9/11 in Defense of Her Wall Street Ties

read … Rubio

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