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Monday, November 23, 2015
November 23, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:39 PM :: 3548 Views

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 23, 2015

Nai Aupuni Headed for Political Train Wreck

ILind: If the election process flounders due to the fractiousness of the debate within the Hawaiian community, I think it will fit the definition of a political train wreck….

CB: Pathetic Civil Beat Again Begs Hawaiians to Go Along With Nai Aupuni

read … Encore Post: A political train wreck?

Organic Food Fraud Causing Losses at State Pension Fund

SA: Hawaii’s public worker pension fund already has teams of lawyers pursuing lawsuits over investment losses where improper or fraudulent activities by publicly traded companies allegedly reduced the fund’s earnings, and the $14 billion retirement fund is ramping up to pursue possible new legal claims.

The state attorney general’s office in August hired four mainland law firms to monitor Employees’ Retirement System investments and seek out any and all evidence of wrongdoing that may have caused losses or reduced earnings.

The public worker retirement fund already has led or joined in multiple lawsuits pending over alleged misconduct by companies, including a case filed over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

ERS is also a party in a class-action lawsuit over Brazil’s national corruption scandal this year that forced the publicly traded oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, to write off $17 billion in losses. Share prices for that company have declined by 70 percent since 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Hawaii pension fund has also been named lead plaintiff in what will likely become a class-action lawsuit against Whole Foods Market Inc. over alleged securities violations by the grocery retailer, said Deputy Attorney General Brian Aburano….

read … State trolls for any new wrongdoing tied to ERS

Audit: Feds Demand HART Listen to Project Management Oversight Contractor

CB: The audit is focusing on projects collecting federal Capital Investment Grant money including seven receiving funding from the FTA’s Section 5309 New Starts Program under terms of full funding grant agreements, or FFGAs. Besides Honolulu, those projects include two in Los Angeles and others in San Francisco, San Jose, Denver and Portland with a combined total cost of $16.8 billion and receiving slightly over $7 billion from the FTA….

Joseph W. Comé, the DOT’s deputy principal assistant inspector general for auditing and evaluation, explained the audits in testimony to a congressional committee last summer, saying the objective is to identify opportunities for the FTA to “further target its oversight activities and better use the tools it has … to control cost increases and schedule overruns” on projects it’s funding.

Those tools, said Comé, were the FTA’s project management and financial management oversight contractors, who work for and report directly to the FTA. He said it was important for the FTA to “encourage” recipients of federal funding (such as Honolulu) to “promptly address concerns identified by the Project Management Oversight Contractor (PMOC).”

“As the FTA continues its oversight of these projects, it will be critical to fully analyze the results of the PMOC reports, take action where appropriate, and exercise its own oversight role in addition to the (PMOC) work,” Comé testified….

Nov 17, 2015: DoT Inspector General Investigating HART

read … Under The Microscope: Honolulu Included In Federal Rail Audit

Adventist digs deeper into possible HHSC partnership

HTH: When state legislators approved Act 103 during the last session, they allowed Kaiser to pursue a “long-term lease, with HHSC owning the assets, and leaving the door open for some level of continued subsidy (from the state government),” he said.

Such an arrangement could also work in East Hawaii, Beehler said, as long as legislators acknowledge the fact that “some level of reduced subsidy will be necessary, because the demographics (in East Hawaii) are not as good as Maui,” he said.

Beehler was careful in his choice of words in speaking on the record about what would become of the East Hawaii system’s Civil Service employees under such an arrangement, saying only that “Adventist prefers to have a direct relationship with its employees.”

However, he did point to a report by Stroudwater Associates, which identified HHSC’s employment costs associated with a unionized work force as the primary factor behind its financial losses.

“It said that if you continue with this current model, with Civil Service driving an expense base, with pensions, benefits and these work rules, it creates a lack of flexibility that becomes an equation that’s difficult to balance if you’re in a market that isn’t that great with demographics,” he said of the independent review mandated by the state Legislature in 2009.

“It’s going to be not sustainable,” he added.

“Our challenge is to figure out if and how a transaction could work.”

read … Partnership

Rain pushes more homeless to seek shelter

HNN: This weekend's wet weather may have accomplished something that officials have wanted for some time -- getting more homeless off the streets and into shelters.

The Institute for Human Services doesn't have exact figures, but it has seen an above-average number of men and women coming in seeking shelter over the past few days because of the rainy conditions.

"I was just soaking wet a couple of days ago and I had a big umbrella over me, and it was very helpful to have that, but other than that, it's really bad," said Taures Burkes. She and her husband are among those now at the IHS shelter on Sumner Street in Iwilei….

In Kakaako, only a few tents remain in the rain. The homeless encampment there and along the Kapalama Canal have been cleared out….

IHS said it is able to handle the increased number of people with no problem….

read … More Force



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