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Thursday, February 4, 2016
February 4, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:20 PM :: 5365 Views

Presidential Race: Santorum Endorses Rubio--Huckabee, Paul, O’Malley Drop Out

Hawaii ERS vs Petrobras: $98 Billion Bribery Case

Ill-conceived ivory-ban legislation based on lies and deceit

State Corporate Income Tax—Hawaii Competitive?

Hawaii Open Budget Celebrates One Year Online

Latest Solar Scam: Kauai Coop Warns Consumers

On Peak Solar Days, Kauai Momentarily Hits 90% Renewable Energy

Public Health Expert: Spread of Dengue, Zika Caused by Environmentalists

CB: Diseases like Zika, yellow fever, guinea worm, trachoma, dengue, and many others (I could continue for pages) are known in the public health field as “neglected tropical diseases.” We in the public health field are well aware of them.

They are neglected by the Western nations because, simply put, they mostly affect poor, marginalized people in poor nations. They affect people we don’t care about, and therefore we don’t put resources into them. That is now coming to haunt us.

Together, all neglected tropical diseases constitute about 10 to 20 percent of the disease burden globally. That is significant. We were taught a lot about them in graduate school. Many of them have been around for millennia….

…dengue was common in the Western Hemisphere up until the 1970s, when it was nearly eradicated.

It was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring that put an end to these eradication efforts, as the book provoked the new environmental movement and stopped the use of residual spraying and pesticides that had nearly wiped out the disease. When it came back, over the past few decades, it came back stronger….

People shouldn’t know about things simply because it affects or threatens them. That is its own form of racism….

read … Environmental Racism

Not Just Cane--Burning Lawsuit Impacts 140 Farming Operations in Hawaii

MN: … If Stop Cane Burning and three (sanctimonious) Maui residents prevail in their lawsuit, it could impact more than 140 agricultural operations in the state - including taro farmers - and invalidate Hawaii's air pollution controls, said an attorney for defendants in the case, which include the state and Alexander & Baldwin, parent company of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.

The plaintiffs counter that there are other rules, including those at the federal level, that will provide pollution controls….

Stop Cane Burning and Trinette Furtado, Karen Chun and Brad Edwards are asking 2nd Circuit Judge Joe Cardoza to declare the Health Department's air pollution control regulatory system, which permits open-air agricultural burning, unlawful….

On Wednesday, Cardoza, who serves as the 2nd Circuit environmental judge, heard arguments on the defendant's motion to dismiss the case. Cardoza will issue his ruling at 1:30 p.m. Friday….

A&B's attorney Kelly Laporte told the court that the lawsuit could have far-reaching effects by invalidating air pollution controls and harming other agriculture users, including taro farmers, who were not in court to defend themselves. He added that the plaintiffs could have sought relief by other means, such as a contested case proceeding, and that it was not the role of the circuit court to establish environmental standards….

Aug, 2015: Anti-Cane Burning Suit to be First Case Heard by Hawaii Environmental Court

read … Death to Agriculture, Say the Realtors

Acquittal of Telescope Protesters Give Them Heckler’s Veto

WHT: Today’s article (Six more TMT protesters acquitted) in WHT Feb. 2) reporting on a circuit court decision by judge Barbara Takase is very sad to supporters of TMT.

This decision is likely to make the TMT project decide on Chile and give up on Mauna Kea. Since the judge was unwilling to determine that blocking the Mauna Kea access road was illegal, the six protesters being tried were acquitted and all the others arrested blocking the road will presumably also be acquitted. The judge said the state had to disprove the protesters argument that they were “choosing the lesser of two evils” to be convicted. Apparently, no one knows how to disprove the protesters argument to the judge’s satisfaction.

Judge Takase has basically legalized the protesters to block access to Mauna Kea in the name of preventing “sacred desecration.” To most people this seems to legalize mob rule if the mob has the right motivation. Who are the protesters to determine if Mauna Kea is being desecrated? It is state land and the public rights that should prevail over the protesters.

Even with a new permit, under this ruling, there is no way for the TMT project to access their site when protesters are present and blocking the road.

read … Veto

Ige Admin floats proposal to bring back ferry service--then denies it (?)

SA: Gov. David Ige’s administration is moving ahead with a proposal to revive interisland ferry service in Hawaii, a potentially controversial effort that could even involve the same catamaran vessels that were deployed in the ill-fated “Superferry” initiative that shut down in 2009.

State Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami told lawmakers his office is managing the initiative, which will take a step forward later this year when the state seeks proposals for a feasibility study for a ferry system.

Fuchigami cautioned lawmakers that putting a ferry back into service would take years, and told senators that “we need to do it right this time.”

He also said he has inquired about the two vessels that were purchased by the military after the Hawaii Superferry initiative failed, and said he was told the vessels are not being used.

Senate Transportation and Energy Committee Chairwoman Lorraine Inouye, (D, Kapulehu-Waimea-¬≠North Hilo) said this week that she supports the effort, and plans to travel with Fuchigami to Washington, D.C., in March to learn more about the status of the former Superferry vessels…. 

UPDATE: Ige Admin Denies Proposing Superferry Revival

DN: Anti-Superferry Activists Freak Out

WIKI: USNS Puerto Rico

read … Not Being Used

Kauai Council: $250M GE Tax hike won’t cure congestion

KGI: Raising the general excise tax isn’t the silver bullet that will clear traffic congestion, said councilman Gary Hooser.

“In the community, traffic is on the forefront of everybody’s mind,” he said Wednesday during a committee meeting. “I don’t want to mislead the public to have them think that we raise this and they’ll be out of Kapaa traffic. This isn’t going to get rid of traffic.”

Council Chairman Mel Rapozo shared the concern.

“The people I talk to on the street think these moneys are going to alleviate congestion and it’s not,” Rapozo said. “This is not going to relieve congestion.” …

The GET surcharge, if passed, would generate around $250 million over 10 years. It could begin bringing in seizing revenues in April 2018….

read … No GE Tax Hike

HART Responsible for Pro-Bowl Parking Mess

SA: …many visitors who came here expressly to enjoy the game found instead they were unable to get into the at-capacity parking lot, and then unsure of how to move on to an alternative space.

Samantha Spain, marketing spokeswoman for the Aloha Stadium, said the Stadium Authority is still consulting this week with all the involved agencies, including the NFL, the Honolulu Police Department and the state Department of Transportation.

Even the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is part of the picture. HART now controls the Kamehameha lot, Spain said: Its spaces are no longer available for stadium parking, because it’s the future site of the stadium rail stop.  (But HART easily could have agreed to a one-day use since nothing is happening on that lot right now.)

The 2016 traffic jam was worse than last year’s….

read … About the Future With Rail

‘Club Being Assembled’: Kenoi Cronies Stack ‘Ethics’ Commission, Prepare Whitewash

WHT: After months of canceled meetings, the Hawaii County Board of Ethics is at full strength again, following County Council confirmation Wednesday of two Kona nominees.

The Ethics Board, which is supposed to meet monthly, has met only twice in the past eight months because it wasn’t able to get its three members together to form the required quorum for a vote.

A shortage of members on the board, coupled with a pending high-profile complaint against Mayor Billy Kenoi, has kept the pressure on the administration to fill the five-member panel. The complaint deals with Kenoi’s misuse of his county credit card, or pCard, at bars and for personal purchases.

The next Ethics Board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The confirmation of G. Rick Robinson and Darnel “Pili” Kalele follows the withdrawal of another nominee after encountering resistance from the council last month. Hilo Councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Aaron Chung questioned the involvement of Ethics Board Chairwoman Ku Kahakalau in recruiting and endorsing the new nominees.

“We want to eliminate the perception that this is now becoming a club that is being assembled,” Chung said Wednesday. (Know them by what they deny!) ….

WHT: Ethics Board selection compromised

read … Club Being Assembled

Poll: Ige, Caldwell Failing On Homelessness

CB: Hawaii voters overwhelmingly believe that homelessness is a major problem in the islands — 90 percent of them, to be exact.

Only a scant 8 percent say it’s a minor issue.

But when it comes to their confidence that state and local leaders are doing what is needed to tackle the crisis, Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell get low marks.

Barely one-fourth of voters surveyed by Civil Beat say the situation has improved under Ige’s leadership, while nearly half say there has been no effect at all.

Caldwell’s numbers are better than Ige’s, but not by much. Only 30 percent say the homeless situation has improved under his leadership….

read … Failing

Ige’s Hardest Job Is Just Making State Government Work

CB: Efficient tax collection. Proper procurement policies. A modern IT system. Forget the flashy stuff, let’s see if Hawaii’s governor can make the state function better….

read … Trapped by the Bureaucracy

HB2575 Renewable Energy: Will 100% Really Mean 100%?

IM: HB 2575 was introduced in this session. The bill would fundamentally restructure the Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Since 2001 the concept of what is a renewable and how it should be counted in the Renewable Portfolio Standards calculation has changed on numerous occasions.

What hasn’t changed over time is the definition of fossil fuel. Long dead flora -- plant life -- is converted over eons to gas, solid and liquid fuel more commonly called natural gas, coal and petroleum.

As first pointed out by this author, and later agreed to by the Attorney General, and more recently by HECO, NextEra and the EUCI conference organizers, but not yet by the renewable energy sector in Hawai`i, under current RPS law it is possible for an electric utility to have an RPS exceeding 100 percent while still using substantial amounts of fossil fuel.

The RPS law can be vastly simplified by focusing on  the use of fossil fuel rather than trying to define renewable energy and utilize bizarre formulas.

HB 2575 states that “All public utilities regulated by the public utilities commission shall have a maximum fossil fuel standard of: (1)Seventy-five per cent by December 31, 2020; (2)Forty per cent by December 31, 2030; and (3)  Zero per cent by December 31, 2045.

"Fossil fuel standard" means the percentage of sales that is represented by fossil fuel."

Unlike the existing law, HB 2575 would equally apply to electric and gas utilities.

HB 2575 was introduced by Representative Chris Lee and is being heard today in the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.

The Administration Bill, HB 2291, is not as strong as HB 2575.

While both bills fix the RPS formula, HB 2291 still relies on questions regarding what renewable energy is and isn’t.

Under state law, renewable energy currently is defined to include “hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources” and “biofuels” produced from any source including fossil fuels….

IM: Hawaii has Clear Energy Goals with Confusing Definitions

read … Rate Hikes Coming

Storage Hype and Getting to 100%

GT:  Marco Mangelsdorf, a veteran solar installer on the islands, does not view energy storage as a near-term savior for the Hawaiian PV industry….

read … 100%

Bill would lower Hawaiian ancestry rule for homesteads

AP: Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to reduce the blood-ancestry requirement for Native Hawaiians to receive Hawaiian homesteads from relatives.

Right now, Hawaiian homestead beneficiaries can only transfer land to descendants who are at least 25 percent Hawaiian. The bill would lower the requirement to 1/32nd Hawaiian….

Rep. Lynn DeCoite said she introduced the bill to help leaseholders’ descendants stay on family land, regardless of whether they marry non-Hawaiians. “As a beneficiary or a Native Hawaiian, you’re going to take care of your place if you know your child will inherit it or succeed it,” she said.

DeCoite said that if families can’t give the land to their children or grandchildren, they sometimes sell the land to the highest bidder on the waitlist. That can be unfair for those with lower incomes, she said….

But other lawmakers had concerns that the bill would disadvantage applicants on the waitlist who might be in greater financial need for land.  (Translation: The bill would strengthen families.)

“The beneficiaries aren’t the entire group of stakeholders, and people on the wait-list often go unaccounted for because they tend to not be as organized,” said Rep. Kaniela Ing, chair of the Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs Committee that passed the bill Wednesday.

Ing said he wants to uphold (what he claims is) the original intent of the 1920 law to help Native Hawaiians in need. Some Native Hawaiians who have held leases for generations might be at a greater financial advantage and might not have the same need for the land than those on waitlists, he said.

“I generally don’t want to take homesteads away from Hawaiians regardless how much income you make,” Ing said. “After a couple generations of building generational wealth, I feel like maybe it’s fair to give it up to other Hawaiians.”  (Translation: Don’t let Hawaiians build equity.)

Ing said he wants the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to survey its beneficiaries to see if any would be willing to give land up to those on the waitlist.

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Deputy Director William Aila Jr. said the department plans to address whether leaseholders should be able to sell land to other eligible applicants.

read … Quantum

Homosexual Child Molesters at Catholic Churches and Kam Schools Worked Together

HNN: …Saint Anthony Church in Kailua and Damien Memorial School in Kalihi have recorded the highest number of sexual abuse complaints: 21 each from the 1950s through the mid 1980s, according to court documents.

And the man accused the most of sexual abuse is the late Father Joseph Henry, a pillar in the Kailua community.

A total of 18 men have alleged in lawsuits Henry molested them from 1952 to 1972; most of those incidents allegedly occurred at Saint Anthony Church in Kailua.

Abuse victims -- including former altar boys -- said Henry and other Saint Anthony priests would sometimes give them money from the collection plates after having sex with them.

Saint Anthony Church named its former main church building after Henry, but in October removed the plaque with his name “in the spirit of compassion and respect for these victims of abuse,” a church spokeswoman said.

Henry was the pastor and superintendent of St. Anthony Church and School until he died in 1974.

Meanwhile, a review of lawsuits revealed that Brother Robert Brouillette, a religion and history teacher at Damien, was accused of abuse in seven cases between 1972 and 1987.

Father James Jackson has been accused of abusing boys in five cases between 1955 and 1981 at Saint Anthony Church and Maryknoll School. 

One lawsuit said Jackson underwent at least 10 years of treatment for his sexual interest in young boys with Dr. Robert Browne, the former director of the psychiatric clinic at St. Francis Hospital (and board member of Hawaii ACLU) who himself has been accused of being a pedophile.

About 30 men – nearly all of them former Kamehameha Schools students -- said Browne sexually abused them and have filed suit against Kamehameha.

Loretta Sheehan, one of the attorneys representing the alleged abuse victims from Kamehameha, said, "It sounds like they were clueless. Sending a pedophilia priest to a pedophile, for what? Conversation? Trading tips?I mean, it's insane. It's actually depressing."

read … Networking

Lawsuit claims teachers kept autistic boy strapped to chair

SA: The mother of a 6-year-old boy who has autism spectrum disorder says employees at Koko Head Elementary School strapped her son into a chair almost daily without justification….

read … Another Day in the DoE

Resignations allow HPD to Hide Police Misconduct

CB: …For years the Honolulu Police Department has refused to release information about officers who resigned in lieu of termination. HPD officials have relied upon a clause in the state’s public records law that says details about officer misconduct, including an individual’s name, can only be released after they are discharged….

Just this week, it was revealed that HPD issued 17 discharge notices to officers in 2015 for various misconduct and criminal infractions, including drunken driving, sexual assault and kidnapping. One officer was accused of handcuffing a man, driving him to an undisclosed location and threatening him.

But a spokeswoman for HPD said she could only release the names of two officers, Gerren Silva and Kinohi Warrington, because six others had resigned before their discharges were made official and the remaining nine had pending appeals.

Silva and Warrington were both HPD recruits. Silva lost his job for “unnecessarily brandishing” an AR-15 assault rifle at a police station parking lot and squad room. Warrington was fired for getting into a car accident while under the influence of alcohol….

SA: Wrongful death lawsuit alleges Big Isle police brutality

read … Resignations Hide Police Misconduct In Hawaii

HB2335: Get Rid of Bad MDs from other States

SA: HB 2335 and SB 2864, both proposed by Gov. David Ige’s administration, would address a major gap in the physician oversight system that was exposed in a recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser series.

The newspaper uncovered multiple cases of Hawaii doctors who were able to practice for long periods after losing their privileges in other states because of serious misconduct. Many doctors have licenses in more than one state.

The Star-Advertiser’s “Ailing Oversight” series found that Hawaii regulators frequently took two years or more to impose reciprocal discipline after doctors were sanctioned in other states. Timely action is considered critical to protecting consumers.

The Hawaii process often takes longer than what is common elsewhere because regulators here conduct their own investigations. In other states where the process moves more quickly, the boards rely on the discipline documentation from other states to take action, saying there is no need to re-investigate the underlying charges….

read … Streamline

Reality Check: Hawaii Tourism on a 30 Year Decline

PBN: … Visitor arrivals and visitor spending in Hawaii are continuing a 30-year downward trend, experts said at an economic forecast sponsored by the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association on Wednesday.

Contrary to recent Hawaii Tourism Authority reports of record nominal visitor arrivals and spending, figures adjusted for inflation paint a different picture, says Paul Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics.

When adjusted for inflation, tourism exports have been on the decline for the past 30 years, he said.

In 2015, visitor arrivals grew about 4.1 percent, visitor days grew 3.5 percent, and nominal visitor expenditures grew about 2.3 percent. While the figures showed incremental nominal growth, the increases look meager in comparison to the years prior.

“Pick whatever deflator you want,” Brewbaker said. “Sideways is not up.” ….

read … Hawaii’s 2016 tourism forecast: time for a reality check

Boom Goes Bust? Hughes Delays Construction of Two Luxe Towers

KITV: March would have been the moving date for many of the stores and restaurants at Ward Warehouse to make way for two luxury Gateway Towers and a park.

But the Howard Hughes Corporation let their tenants know they were getting a reprieve.

The company isn’t giving a definitive timetable for the two towers, but they are telling the vendors they can stay here for another year….

Shop owners say they were told of the extension in December.

It was before the McNaughton group canceled the luxury Vida project next door because of poor sales.

Howard Hughes isn’t sure if those who did put money down will in turn buy into the other luxury condos now under construction. 

"We are waiting to see. That announcement just happened last week. Some have come to see. Some have taken a look in the past. But we are ready for any buyers who are interested," said HHC’s Todd Apo….

SA: State considers revising Kakaako high-rise plan

read … The End of the Boom

Bike lane study to block lanes, jam traffic in Kailua

KHON: There will be lane closures on Hamakua Drive in Kailua for a bike lane study….

The closures start Saturday, February 13 at 8 a.m. through 3 p.m. the next day….

read … Traffic Jam

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