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Monday, February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:49 PM :: 4473 Views

Pirate Video from Aha: Bumpy Kanahele Shouted Down, Walter Ritte Thrown Out

HB1902 Sex Trafficking Reform Passes Judiciary

DLNR Issues, Revises Kailua Bay Boating Incident News Release, Then Withdraws It

HART Errors – Lack of Acknowledgement is Troublesome

DLNR Sweeps Na Pali Coast--One Arrested, 70 Cited, Tons of Trash Airlifted Out

Senate Superferry Bills on the Move

CB: Is the Hawaii Legislature serious about an interisland ferry system?

The state Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy passed a bill late last week requiring the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing a ferry system.

Senate Bill 2618 notes, “Unlike other states, Hawaii does not enjoy the benefit of being linked to other states, cities, or towns via the federal interstate highway system or a network of interconnected state and local highways.”

SB 2618 now awaits scheduling of a hearing in Ways and Means. Meanwhile, on Tuesday two Senate committees will hear another ferry measure.

Senate Bill 3022 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to conduct “any necessary environmental assessment” for the establishment of a intra-state or inter-state ferry system.

The measure also provides a nonrefundable tax credit and a 50 percent reduction in harbor fees during the first year of operation “for any company operating an inter-island ferry vessel.”

read … Superferry

Hawaii voters believe most misconduct is due to a few bad cops

CB: Forty-six percent of Hawaii voters say state and local governments need to provide greater oversight of local police departments.

That’s 9 percentage points more than voters who are satisfied with the way police are currently policed….

PDF: Civil Beat January 2016 Police Poll

read … Police Oversight

GE Tax Hike to Fund Bankrupt HHSC

SA:  …Senate Bill 2064 and its companion House Bill 1881 appropriate money to restore staff and long-term care services at Leahi and Maluhia hospitals, which serve many patients on Medicare and Medicaid. The hospitals had to cut 64 positions and stop taking in new patients to remain afloat due to a $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016, with declining reimbursements for care.

The Kupuna Caucus package also includes a proposal to fund services for seniors with a half-percentage-point increase in the general excise tax. The caucus is a bipartisan group of legislators and representatives of community organizations, government departments and individuals concerned about seniors’ well-being….

read … Another Tax Hike

Where Are The Highest Paid State Workers? Public Health

CB: The top-ranked doctors in Hawaii Health Systems earn far more than other state workers, even Supreme Court justices….

read … Paid

Only 19% Trust Aloha United Way With $5M for Homeless Projects

Big Q:  Do you agree with the state giving Aloha United Way $5 million for homeless and related services?

B. Mixed; unclear where it'll go (231 Votes)

C. No; not priority (214 Votes)

A. Definitely; money well spent (104 Votes)

read … Not Trusted

Hawaii Energy Excelerator Funds Phony Wind Turbine Scheme

TP: …the state’s so-called ‘Energy Excelerator’ incubator has included a wind company in its newly announced 2016 list of clean tech startups to support. The surprise is that the company is SheerWind, a Minnesota-based company that has some wind industry observers scratching their heads over its unique approach to wind turbine design…. (because they know it doesn’t work)

From the outside, the Invelox system resembles a stubby tower. It (allegedly) collects low-speed winds at low altitudes through large openings, and directs them down through a smaller funnel. The concentrated wind energy is then (supposedly) used to spin a series of turbines placed at ground level.

While not necessarily the most efficient setup for wind energy harvesting (no kidding, see debunk below) — hence the aforementioned head-scratching among some industry watchers — systems based on the Venturi effect are apparently beginning to finding acceptance. In certain locations, such systems could provide for low-cost wind energy harvesting in a way that can’t be satisfied by conventional wind turbine designs (or not)….

Dawn Lippert, who co-founded the Energy Excelerator and serves as its director, emphasized these points in a recent press release, explaining: “We’re betting on SheerWind because their bird-friendly, inexpensive, and easy-to-install technology has the potential to scale successfully in Hawaii and other markets.”  (These clowns bet on CSP for years so naturally they would fall for CWP.)

Complete Debunk: Sheerwind Invelox: All Hype, No Substance  “An apples-to-apples comparison would likely see eighteen times less generation, requiring an input funnel perhaps eight times larger than a football field to produce the same electricity.”

read … Your Tax Dollars at Work

Another Green Energy Scheme Goes Bankrupt

SA: …Honua was facing serious financial difficulties, according to documents filed with the PUC.

Hawaiian Electric notified Honua in April 2014 that it had failed to pay $1.8 million that was due in 2013 for covering the cost of connecting the plant with the utility’s grid. As a result, the utility terminated its power purchase agreement with Honua in September 2014. Two months later the landlord for Honua’s proposed power plant site terminated the company’s lease for unpaid rent.

In the Chapter 7 filing, Honua said it owed 17 companies or individuals a total of $1.7 million. The biggest debt was $681,255 for unpaid rent to A Pacific Island Properties LLC. The next two biggest debts are owed to members of Honua: $315,462 to Honua Technologies Inc. led by Mobley and Kondo, and $249,787 to Unitek Solvent Services Inc., which is affiliated with Unitek Energy Technologies LLC that is part owner of Honua.

Honua also listed $45,355 owed to Hawaii Dental Group Inc., which operates Hawaii Family Dental Centers….

read … No Surprise Here

Mauna Kea Telescope is Key Scientific Project for Indian Government—Will Tulsi Gabbard Step Up?

NKT: Referring to the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), an initiative aimed at improving India's capability and capacity in supercomputers and India joining hands with five nations for "Thirty Meter Telescope" project Ain Hawaii, Mnister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan said the country has now entered into the 'high risk high gain' research work.

"Because of initiatives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are now into research works that were considered to be too risky. We are inferior to none in technology or science, the idea is to think out of the box, and that is where this start-up movement will play a big role," he said….

read … India Calling Tulsi

Eco-Hypocrisy: Pandering, Selling Votes and Trashing the Aina

IM: Alekai Kinimaka was busted for four petty misdemeanors, including landing a jet ski with a passenger on the beach — he's been offering illegal transport services out there for how many years already?

The worst, though, was watching (11:16 on the video) the tons of opala being hauled out – full-size lounge chairs, surfboards, fishing poles, rubbish, bongo drums, full-sized coolers, a five-foot-long plastic table.

Oh yeah, they wanna be part of that “pristine wilderness” – but with all the comforts of home. And let someone else clean up the mess.

At the end of the video, there's a DOCARE guy (I think it's Kauai Branch Chief Francis “Bully” Mission) saying:

“It really upsets me, just to see a pristine area like this...be destroyed with all the trash and illegal activity. It really saddens me... and more so the attitudes. They say they take care of the aina and clean up the area – but then we come back here and have to clean up the area for them. It's just really upsetting and saddening to see that sort of stuff going on.

Yes, so often we see that sad gaping disconnect between the rhetoric and actions of those who believe — and claim — they love the land.

Which brings us to HB 2574, the pesticide disclosure bill that passed out of the House environment committee Thursday afternoon. Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing wasted no time cashing in. That very same evening he sent out an email citing his vote and asking for contributions, with the message:

He has our backs, let's have his.

At best, that's blatant pandering. At worst, it's selling votes.

But hey, fear for sure sells, which is how Ing and the Center for Food Safety, which sent out its own “pony up now” email, cash in. First, they make you afraid. Then they promise to save you from the danger they've amplified. But only if you send enough money.

It's not unlike the people who used to prey on an elderly friend of mine, sending him letters asserting that he'd been cursed, but if he sent $5, they'd remove it.

Here's the biggest disconnect of all: Though they claim they are protecting the keiki, aina,  kupuna and other Hawaiian words, they only want agricultural companies to disclose. Yet as farmer Larry Jefts pointed out, ag accounts for only one third of all restricted use pesticides (RUP). Even the hated Monsanto uses just 1 percent of the entire statewide RUP total….

read … Musings: Reconnect to Reality

HB686: Anti-GMO Morons Attack Fish without Explanation

CB: House Bill 686 would prohibit “propagating, cultivating, or farming genetically engineered fish” in state marine waters.

The bill, sponsored by Democrat Reps. Kaniela Ing and John Mizuno, has a hearing Wednesday at the Capitol….

HB 686 does not explain why GMO fish need to be banned from local waters.

read … Locus of Ignorance

HPV: Legislators Bow to Anti-Vaxxers

CB: “Get HPV vaccine for your sons and daughters at ages 11-12 to protect them from cancers caused by HPV infections,” the CDC unequivocally recommends. “Girls and boys should complete the HPV vaccine series before their 13th birthday. The HPV vaccine series works best when it is given at the recommended ages of 11 or 12.”

Nevertheless, when Baker, a cervical cancer survivor herself, introduced the bill in a committee hearing last week, it encountered some of the same emotional, fear-driven opposition that often meets vaccine discussions today.

Thanks to half-truths and outright lies circulated by the “anti-vax” movement largely online, poorly informed parents are too often unnecessarily fearful regarding potential side effects of vaccines. And there was plenty of evidence of exactly that in the public testimony offered last Tuesday, both verbally and in writing, against Senate Bill 2316.

read … Progressive Ignorance

UH Grad Students Union Gets Hearing in House, Senate

CB: Two state Senate committees are set to hear a bill Thursday that would establish a collective bargaining unit for graduate student assistants working at the University of Hawaii.

Senate Bill 2398 is authored by Sen. Brian Taniguchi, who chairs the Higher Education and the Arts committee — one of the panels hearing the bill….

A companion bill in grad student organization is making its way through the Hawaii House of Representatives.

It’s authored by Rep. Isaac Choy, the Democrat who chairs House Higher Education — the same committee that will hear the measure Tuesday.

read … Graduate Union

HB1802: Abusive Condo Associations

SA: …to provide owners with an advocate, the ombudsman, through House Bill 1802 and Senate Bill 2760, is to restore a means of due process to our condominium owners.

Highlights of the bills are:

>> The opening of investigations restricted to condominium owners.

>> Full investigative procedures by the ombudsman for complaints registered.

>> The suspension of legal charges and other assessments by management against owners until the ombudsman has completed investigations and rendered resolution recommendations.

>> The limitations on the purposes of legal consultation fees for which management can impose on individual owners.

>> The requirement that voting results in the executive sessions (where many of these unjust enforcement decisions are made) of board meetings be disclosed in their minutes.

>> Educational opportunities on owner rights the ombudsman will make available to owners.

>> Funding for the ombudsman and staff to be provided by the condominium education trust fund already maintained by annual fees all owners pay….

HB1802 is scheduled for a 2 p.m. today hearing at the state Capitol, room 325.

read … Hearing

Oahu 40 years Behind in Road Maintenance 

SA: There’s a straightforward way to transform Oahu’s crumbling, pothole-plagued roads into the smoother ones that drivers in other parts of the country enjoy, asphalt-pavement industry experts say, but it’s a solution that has eluded the state and city for decades.

Simply put, local maintenance officials need to do a better job (or in some cases, any job) extending the life of roads by treating them regularly with rubberlike sealants — materials that other places have used for more than 40 years, the experts say.

Moreover, maintenance crews need a detailed program to manage all the work, as well as the leadership and budget to ensure it’s done right, industry experts add.

Hardly any of Oahu’s city streets get treated with such sealants. There has never been a preservation program….

“Out of the 50 states, Hawaii’s roads are near the bottom. … It’s unfortunate but it’s true,” said Larry Galehouse, director of the Michigan State University-based National Center for Pavement Preservation. Galehouse said he’s observed those roads over the past decade while consulting for the state and visiting the islands.

Galehouse added that in 2008 he provided the DOT with a federally funded 43-page report called “Pavement Preservation Technical Appraisal.” It included 16 pages of recommendations to better preserve the islands’ state roads. In preparing that report, Galehouse said, he found the state’s approach to road upkeep was generally more “reactive than proactive,” that its crews needed better training and that the department lacked guidelines for preservation treatments.

“Everyone was doing everything a little different,” he recalled. “They didn’t put much attention into their pavement management system. There were a lot of problems.”

It’s not clear whether state officials acted on any of Galehouse’s recommendations. DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara said last week he was unable to find a copy of the report.

“A lot of what we recommended fell on deaf ears,” Galehouse said. On subsequent trips he noticed that “by and large they didn’t do it,” he said….

read … Another Day in the Nei

27 Years: ‘Roads in limbo’ compound upkeep problems on island

SA: For decades, Oahu and the neighbor islands have grappled with hundreds of miles of so-called “roads in limbo,” and the issue continues to affect some local road maintenance, officials say.

For a 1989 state report, Honolulu officials identified more than 400 lane miles of disputed road on Oahu that neither the county nor the state wanted to claim. Those lane miles were part of nearly 450 different streets.

“When calls for assistance are made to the county, the county refers them to the state. When calls are made to the state, the state refers them back to the county,” that Legislative Reference Bureau report stated. “The jurisdiction over these roads remains in dispute, and it is the residents who pay the price.”

The disputes leave “a significant number of roads in all four counties in substandard conditions and without routine maintenance because no government body will accept responsibility for them,” according to the report.

Twenty-seven years later the state and county continue to spar over the issue with no real solution. The number of roads affected is likely about the same, said Ross Sasamura, the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance director….

read … And Another Day in the Nei

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