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Saturday, February 6, 2016
February 6, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:46 PM :: 3482 Views

DoH Releases Full List of Marijuana Dispensary Applicants

Hawaii Superferry Eyed for Maine-Nova Scotia Route

Anti-Family Bills Before Hawaii Legislature

VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Uses Accounting Gimmicks to Hide Baby Parts Sales

HSTA Pushes $750M GE Tax Hike

KITV: …that, comes at a high cost – one you’ll help pay.

Educators propose a new math equation – raise the general excise tax - something that hasn't been done since 2007 when a surcharge tax went up a half-percentage point for Honolulu's rail.

Rosenlee describes raising the excise tax by 1 percentage point would bring in about $750-million (out of your pocket every year)….

read … $750M

HB1713: HSTA Bill Will Gut Ethics Law in Hawaii

SA: …Legislators have expressed frustration at what they see as overzealous interpretation of the ethics law by the commission. Education Committee Chairwoman Michelle Kidani grilled Kondo at the meeting and suggested he was “picking on the teachers.”

“I don’t believe that teachers who are willing to take children on educational trips should have to be penalized and make them pay for these trips,” Kidani (D, Mililani-Waikele-Kunia) said.

A similar bill in the House (HB 1713) that would allow teachers and other state employees to accept free travel, under certain conditions, has been amended to alter the Ethics Code itself. It would repeal the first sentence of the code, which says, “This chapter shall be liberally construed to promote high standards of ethical conduct in state government.”

In an effort to resolve the teacher travel issue, the Board of Education has adopted a policy that differentiated between school-sponsored and private trips….

The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Friday that would carve out an exemption from the state Ethics Code for teachers who chaperone student trips, despite warnings from ethics staff that it was a step down a slippery slope.

The proposal, Senate Bill 2425, had the strong backing of teachers, who filled the room and testified to the benefits of educational travel and how hard they work to give public school children a chance to broaden their horizons….

read … Slippery

Feds: Caldwell’s Homeless Tent City is Distraction—Path to Failure

SA: …the national “Housing First” model, which maintains that it’s more effective and cheaper to put homeless people in housing immediately, then provide help for issues that could include drug and alcohol abuse and mental health problems.

“People here are still warming to the idea that someone who has been living on the street for 10 years could actually move off the street and into housing,” Ho said. “We are seeing this work in communities all over the country. Until that is embraced and tested and proven here, people will continue to question it because Housing First is counterintuitive to what they’ve historically done. In this instance, what works on the mainland can be proven here. There’s nothing uniquely Hawaiian that would say that it can’t work here.”

Both Jennifer Leimaile Ho — the Washington, D.C.-based senior adviser on housing and services for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and niece of the late entertainer Don Ho and Katy Miller — Seattle-based regional coordinator for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness--were concerned that Honolulu, like Seattle, seems interested in encouraging organized tent cities on government land, which is supported by both Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Council Chairman Ernie Martin.

We can’t think of a single community where a tent city was a critical part of their success,” Ho said. “It is a distraction of effort. You’re thinking you’re doing something that’s temporary, and it ends up being permanent. It’s not a solution. Band-Aids don’t work.” – (Attention Politicians: Memorize this statement.  Don’t make me repeat it AGAIN.)

Seattle — which embraces tent cities — just saw a 19 percent increase in its homeless population during its “point-in-time count,” which takes place each January….

Precisely as we have explained over and over and over again for the last six years: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … No Tent City

NextEra’s ‘Unreasonable’ Plan: Windmills Everywhere and Undersea Cables to Connect Them

PBN: On Oahu, several technologies are included in the updated “2016 Power Supply Improvement Plan,” including 30 megawatts of on-shore wind, 400 megawatts of offshore wind, 200 megawatts of on-shore wind-plus undersea cable, 400 megawatts of on-shore wind-plus undersea cable, 20 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic, 100 megawatts of concentrated solar power with 10-hours of storage, 20 megawatts of biomass and more than 500 megawatts of combined cycle gas.

NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) was the primary data source for eight out of the 14 technologies.

In November, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission said it had substantial concerns with the utility’s new energy plans that were submitted in 2014, including that the plans’ cost impacts and risks have not been demonstrated to be reasonable….

the PUC, in a ruling in November, outlined eight concerns it had with the plans, including that Hawaiian Electric’s prominent claim that the plans would result in 20 percent residential bill reductions was a selectively limited and potentially misleading characterization of the supporting analyses….

read … Improvement?

9th Circuit court to hear Maui GMO moratorium case

MN: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments about whether to overturn a federal judge's ruling last year that struck down a Maui County voter-approved moratorium on genetically modified organisms.

In a ruling Thursday, the appeals court denied a motion to dismiss the appeal by the SHAKA Movement, opening the door for arguments before the court headquartered in San Francisco….

On Friday afternoon, Monsanto said its motion to dismiss the appellant's case challenged the appeal, unsuccessfully, for lack of standing, but that the denial of the motion was without prejudice, meaning the case had not been decided on its merits.

"The court of appeals for the 9th Circuit will now move to consider the merits of the case and instructed that the standing arguments could be raised in the merits phase of the case," the company's statement said. "Monsanto believes the federal district court in Hawaii reached the correct conclusion invalidating the ballot initiative, and we will vigorously defend this position."

read … Maui Spawn

Bad Day in Court for Burning Anti-Agriculture Activists

MN: Cardoza ruled that, contrary to arguments by the plaintiffs, the Legislature did give the state Department of Health and its director the power to "properly promulgate regulations related to air pollution control." The plaintiffs' effort to invalidate the regulatory powers of the Health Department over air pollution was denied.

In denying the second claim - that the defendants were in violation of the right to a clean and healthful environment - the judge ruled that plaintiffs can bring a claim focusing on enforcement but not invalidation of statutes.

Cardoza asked the plaintiffs for guidance on handling three other claims that cite violations of the public trust, equal protection and other laws that involve open-air burn permits. He said the invalidation of open-air burn permits would affect not only HC&S but 144 other permit holders, including Native Hawaiian practitioners.

"Looking at this complaint, this court does conclude that the complaint does not take sole aim at Alexander & Baldwin," Cardoza said. "It does seem to impact a broad number of permits that have been issued, and if the court is being asked to strike down these permits it would seem fair that those individuals have an ability to say something about that."

He gave the plaintiffs 10 days to amend the lawsuit to either focus on HC&S or to include all permit holders. Plaintiffs' attorney Lance Collins said Friday that he had to confer with his clients to determine how to proceed….

read … Target Agriculture

Hi-Tech Scammers: Tax Real Companies to Pay for our Fake Companies

PBN: Testimony backing a bill to allocate money from the corporate income tax to the innovation sector has received support from several groups in the Startup Paradise ecosystem.  (Yes. Leeches are part of an ecosystem.  Its true.)

House bill 2288 calls for the allocation of $5 million of Corporation Income Tax to be given to the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation Revolving Fund for the HI Growth Initiative. If passed the bill would take effect on July 1, 2016 and last for five years….

read … Hand in your pocket

Hi Tech Scammers: We don’t need to Develop any real Companies in Hawaii But You Must Give Us Money

PBN: …industry experts say its time to get realistic about our expectations for a local tech sector and find happiness as a startup incubator….

…much of what is on offer in the state is for a startup’s initial phases.  (Because they’re fake companies which never amount to anything.) As a startup matures, it has to leave Hawaii in search of more funding and more opportunities. (Translation: We don’t actually need to develop any real companies any more.  We will pretend they left Hawaii instead of acknowledging that they are a bunch of phonies getting rich off Hawaii taxpayers.)

read … Getting ‘Real’ Rich of This

Chief Being Investigated by FBI, New Assistant Chief was arrested on a first-degree felony charge for terroristic threatening

KHON: …The City Prosecutor's Office confirmed that in 1994, Borges was arrested on a first-degree felony charge for terroristic threatening.

Borges later pleaded out to the lesser charge of terroristic threatening in the second-degree, which is a misdemeanor. The punishment was a $100 fine and a year's probation.

Then in 2001, Burgess was pardoned by then Gov. Ben Cayetano….

read … Birds of a Feather

SHOPO files complaint over use of police body cameras on Kauai

KHON: Kauai Police Department’s use of body cameras has hit a speed bump.

The police union, SHOPO, complained to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, because it didn’t sign off on the program first.

SHOPO, the board, and Kauai County lawyers met Friday, and a hearing is scheduled for later this month….

Officers would not have the ability to edit footage….

SHOPO president Tenari Maafala previously told KHON2 while the union is in favor of the cameras, there are still privacy issues that need to be ironed out….

read … Protecting Who?

HB1525: Legislators Maneuvering to keep Homeless on the Streets

CB: …Hawaii lawmakers gutted portions of a measure that would make it illegal to sit or lie on state lands before advancing it Friday.

The House Committee on Water and Land adopted an amended version of House Bill 1525, which originally sought to prohibit “unlawful occupation of state property” by banning sitting or lying, as well as camping without a permit, on all state lands.

The bill was modeled after Honolulu’s sit-lie ban, which was adopted in 2014 for Waikiki sidewalks and later expanded to Chinatown and 13 other areas on Oahu.

Rep. Cindy Evans, a committee member, voiced her concern over the vagueness of the bill language, saying that it would essentially criminalize the existence of some 200 people living at The Harbor, a self-governed Waianae homeless community on state land overseen by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Evans pointed out that, if challenged, the bill’s vagueness might not hold up in court.

Suzanne Case, director of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, said in her testimony that the measure was “overly broad.”

“If this measure is enacted, the department believes that sunbathing on a beach or in a park could be considered a petty misdemeanor, as well as picnicking on a blanket,” Case said.

Rep. Ryan Yamane, the committee chair, moved to amend the measure so that it would give some flexibility to various state departments to designate the areas where the ban should apply, instead of blanketing all state lands. It also requires a 24-hour notice before any enforcement could take place….

HNN: Homeless Tsar Misses Meeting

read … How to Keep the Homeless Homeless?

Maui County Council Dithers as Ige Homeless Emergency Ticks Down to Feb 26 Expiration

MN: At almost every public gathering I go to nowadays, someone asks me what I'm doing about the homeless issue here. And each time I'm asked I tell them the truth, that since Nov. 24 - more than two months ago now - my administration sent down laws and budget proposals to the County Council.

Since then there's been one committee meeting to briefly talk about the proposal but no action taken. Budget and Finance Committee Chair Riki Hokama says he wants answers and transparency before he takes any action. My administration has been incredibly transparent and available for questioning, but Hokama needs to realize that we're working off of Gov. David Ige's emergency proclamation, and that the clock is ticking.

Ige declared a state of emergency in October in regard to the homeless crisis, and that state of emergency continues only until Feb. 26.

While we are in this state of emergency, the state and the county can suspend certain procurement and zoning laws so that we can get things moving quickly. I was told personally by City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell that the council there approved $44 million over the next two years to address homelessness….

read … Expiration

DLNR Removes 71 Homeless and Tons of Trash from Napali Coast Camps 

KHON: One person has been arrested and dozens more cited during a law-enforcement operation at Kalalau Beach in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai.

A cleanup operation also resulted in tons of accumulated trash being airlifted from the area….

During four separate enforcement visits in January and February, DOCARE officers issued nearly 70 citations to hikers and backpackers who did not have state-issued camping permits. These permits allow a maximum of 60 people to camp in designated areas fronting Kalalau Beach for five days at a time….

Maintenance crews from the DLNR Division of State Parks fly into Kalalau at least once a month to maintain overtaxed composting toilets, perform trail maintenance and fly out tons of trash.

During this week’s clean-up operation, a dozen unpermitted camps and abandoned property were removed. These camps were posted with “notices to vacate” several weeks ago. Items taken from the camps will be stored for 30 days and unless rightful owners reclaim their items, they will be discarded.

DLNR State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell explained that “most of the rubbish being flown out of Kalalau was not carried in on someone’s back. Plastic lawn chairs, gallon glass bottles of alcohol, huge pop-up tents, full-sized air mattresses, and other non-backpacking materials have been found in unpermitted camps in some of the most prime designated camping spots along Kalalau Beach.”

read … Trash

Obamacare: COFA Has until Feb 15 to Sign up

PBN: People living in Hawaii under the Compact of Free Association still have until mid-February to sign up for coverage. COFA migrants will have until Feb. 15 to sign up, an extra 60 days approved by the federal government after a request by Ige.

The state estimated in December that 4,300 COFA migrants still neededed to sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

read … Still not over

DoE School Cancels Honors Classes in Effort to Promote ‘Equality’

KGI: …“All of us were pretty upset about the change, so we arranged a meeting with the digital media teacher, who suggested we do a PSA,” said Loren Weiner.

Starting next year, Honors English and math classes, as well as certain electives like digital media, graphic design and auto shop, will no longer be offered to incoming freshman. That means all ninth-graders will be in the same class, no matter their learning level.

School officials say the change in curriculum was an effort to inspire a diverse classroom environment in which every student can succeed fail.

But some students say they want to be challenged and free from class distractions and are protesting in their own way.

“We’re handing out petitions and comment sheets,” said Arianna White, another upcoming ninth-grader. “We want to spread awareness.”

read … Equally Uneducated

HMSA Imaging Ban ‘A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen’

KITV: Doctors are so appalled that they're calling HMSA's recent policy change a "lawsuit waiting to happen."

In December, the state's largest health care insurer started requiring doctors to go through a pre-approval process for imaging services before they can order tests, such as CT Scans and MRIs.

Two months later, physicians are coming out of the woodwork saying the new policy is gambling with their patients’ lives….

“Any delay in a diagnosis and early intervention is only going to add to the cost of the problem, and that's not even covering the extra suffering and uncertainty people have to go through,” said Dr. Scott McCaffrey, President of the Hawaii Medical Association.

According to Dr. McCaffrey, the price tag for alternate tests – and more so from emergency rooms – will ultimately cost HMSA more.

“It's frustrating for us as physicians, and we already have a physician shortage in Hawaii,” said Dr. Ruggieri. “This isn't going to make things easier, that's for sure!”

HMSA says it implemented the new policy in December to reduce possible exposure to radiation, excessive testing, and unnecessary expenses. It says an NIA study found Hawaii doctors ordered 30 percent more imaging services than needed.

But 2004-2013 research from the Health Policy Institute showed Hawaii well below the national average for imaging, at least for Medicare and Medicaid patients….

read ... Lawsuit

Child Molestation: HB1782--Erin’s Law for Hawaii

KHON: …In 2014, 637 victims sought help from The Sex Abuse Treatment Center in Hawaii. Fifty-one percent were children and out of that, 16 percent were under five years old, 34 percent were between 5 to 12 years old, and 50 percent were between 13 to 17 years old. The youngest victim was only one year old.

One way the state is aiming to keep children safe from predators is through a new program that would be offered in schools.

House Bill 1782 would establish and set guidelines for a sexual abuse prevention instructional program for public schools.

Many states across the nation are adding these types of programs to their curriculum. The idea is to teach students how to identify and respond to sexual abuse….

Link: WHAT IS ERIN’S LAW?

read … Erin’s Law

Soft on Crime: Shot at a Cop, out on Parole, Does it Again, and Again

HNN: …"Police had gotten out of the car and approached the vehicle and asked the driver to step out of the car," said Gordon Lewis, who witnessed the shooting, "He then put it in reverse and then he accelerated and tried to go thru the hedges and jump the curb and that's when the police opened fire."

The 28-year-old woman who was in the front seat of the car is in critical but stable condition at Hilo Medical Center, police said.

The three officers who fired shots have 20, 15 and six years of experience with the Hawaii Police Department.

Police said Barawis was wanted for bench warrants and was only paroled last year. He was convicted for shooting at a traffic officer in 2000 in Ocean View.

Police were also looking for Barawis to question him about a drive-by shooting late last year and another incident last month…. 

read … But not anymore

State seeks proposals for secured privately-run mental patient facilities

HNN: Under pressure to ease overcrowding at the state's only public mental hospital, the state plans to ask private vendors to build and operate secured mental facilities in the community.The main aim is to divert people away from the state hospital, which has been over capacity for years.

Built to house about 170 patients, the hospital averages about 205 patients these days, and that doesn’t count another 42 patients the state houses at Kahi Mohala, a private mental hospital.

The State Hospital is so overcrowded that "We're looking at taking our patient library and taking the books out and putting two beds in.  We have therapy areas, classrooms, offices, conference rooms with beds in them," said William May, the State Hospital administrator.

The state Health Department is asking state lawmakers to approve spending $160 million to build a 144-bed facility on hospital grounds.  Problem is, planning and construction of that new facility will take at least five years.

"Our concern is that all projections indicate that our admissions are going to just continue going up," May said.

So the state is about to ask private vendors to submit proposals to build and operate one or several small secured facilities for mental patients off hospital grounds, which could be built more quickly than the larger facility at the hospital.  The facilities might house around 15 people, health officials said….

read … Good Idea

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