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Wednesday, February 10, 2016
February 10, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:01 PM :: 4599 Views

Hawaii: Two Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled for Hearing Feb 10

Kenoi Declares Dengue Emergency, Ige Refuses

Hawaii ANG Unit Deploys to Fight ISIS

Irony: GMO Marijuana Growers Threatened by Pollen Drift from Organic Hemp Farms

Coop Proposes Alternative Power Generation Plan for Big Island

Nai Aupuni Brainwashing

Judge Throws out UPW Suit Against Hospital Privatization

MN: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday filed by the United Public Workers, clearing a potential roadblock to the takeover of operations of three Maui County public hospitals by Kaiser Permanente on July 1.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor denied the UPW's motion for a preliminary injunction to block the takeover and granted the state's motion to dismiss the case….

UPW claimed that the bill, signed by Gov. David Ige in June, violated the U.S. Constitution by impairing a contract between the union and the state….

In a response to UPW's complaint, the state said in November that the act did not "impinge upon" collective bargaining agreements, and that HHSC already had the authority to take certain actions, including reducing staff, before Act 103 was signed.

State attorneys also argued that while the collective bargaining agreements guarantee things such as work hours, wages, sick leave and fringe benefits, they do not guarantee "that specific facilities will continue to be operated by a public employer."

The state also said that HHSC "will be the private entity's landlord," and that UPW still will be able to enter into collective bargaining agreements with the private entity, Kaiser.

read … Union Loses in Court

Crazy Idea: DOE could try more efficiency

SA: It is not an either-or proposition, that one either must support the recent request by the teachers union to increase the general excise tax by 1 percentage point or not be considered a supporter of public education.

Is it possible that “improving teaching conditions” could be funded by a decrease in spending in other less-critical areas? That is called a balanced budget.

Having been involved in government budgeting in the past, I am well aware that one of the strategies is to present the most dire of consequences if the requested tax increase is not approved….

read … Efficiency

Unions Push State Subsidies for Failing, Bankrupt HHSC

HNN: Leahi and Maluhia hospitals cut 76 beds last year, discharging a handful of residents, and also let 42 employees go.

Hawaii Health Systems is asking lawmakers for $21 million for all of its facilities. Some of those funds could help maintain present services and prevent more cuts at Maluhia and Leahi.

But a citizen's union front group wants the bed count restored.

"There's 25 percent fewer hospital long-term care beds now," said Vanessa Chong, of Protect Leahi and Maluhia Ohana.

Chong collected 5,300 signatures for a petition urging lawmakers to give the hospitals $10 million more than they're asking for….

read … HGEA

Panel, process for giving Cronies pot licenses to remain secret

SA: The state Health Department said Tuesday it will neither release the names of committee members who will select the winners of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses nor disclose any information about the selection process….

“It is critical that the selection process be conducted without external influence and disruption, so that applicants are scored solely on their application and the merit criteria,” said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Department of Health. “To ensure the integrity of the selection process, DOH will not be releasing any additional information about applicants, the application process or evaluation panel at this time.”

The department’s decision to keep the process secret was immediately criticized by at least one lawmaker who said the names of the selection committee will get out.

“The DOH may say that they want to keep the panel names secret so they can’t be lobbied. But we all know in certain circles that information will get out and they will get lobbied, so it’s better that it’s totally transparent and everything is done aboveboard,” said Sen. Josh Green (D, Naalehu-Kailua-¬≠Kona). “People on the inside always find out. The selection panel should also be totally transparent so we know that there’s no favoritism and no insider deals. There has to be 100 percent transparency in this process … so that we know that there are no conflicts of interest and people have total trust in the system.”

The Health Department should also make known every member of each entity applying for dispensary licenses, Green added. Most of the applicants are limited-liability companies, which aren’t required to disclose its principals in public records.

“It is important that we know whether any LLC is in good standing, that there are no people who have a criminal record (even if it is a deferred acceptance?) or bad record of performance,” he said. “If someone is applying that has a long history of legal problems or criminal activity or financial problems, that’s all relevant.”….

80% ‘NO’ -- Should secrecy shield the identities of those deciding the state’s coveted medical marijuana permits?

read … Crony Dispensary

SB2753--Term limits for state legislators

HTH: The governor, county council members and mayors face term limits.

Should state legislators?

State Sen. Russell Ruderman, a Democrat representing Puna and parts of Ka‘u who is seeking his second term, thinks so, and he introduced a bill capping the time a lawmaker can stay in the same office at 12 consecutive years.

That means a limit of three consecutive terms for a senator and six for a representative.

In Hawaii County, council members are limited to four consecutive two-year terms, while mayors cannot serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. The governor also is limited to two four-year terms.

Ruderman said term limits for legislators would increase accountability and reduce the number of “career politicians.”

“I think a lot of voters are kind of tuned out,” he said. “I think a lot of people feel like they can’t affect what state government does.”

The bill would take effect in 2020, so it can’t be used to target any sitting lawmakers, Ruderman said.

It would require a constitutional amendment, meaning the bill needs to be passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate and approved by voters by ballot, according to the state Office of Elections….

Ruderman introduced the bill — SB 2753 — along with Sen. Lorraine Inouye, D-North Hawaii, and Oahu Democratic Sen. Laura Thielen.

He also has teamed up with Thielen and Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, D-Oahu, on another bill seeking to increase direct democracy in the state.

SB 2754 would allow voters to get initiatives on the ballot without going through the Legislature. It would also require a constitutional amendment.

Currently, statewide ballot measures must be approved by lawmakers….

read … Limits

Feudal System Saved from Souki

SA: …The House speaker introduced two bills enabling the “conversion” of leasehold property for sale in fee simple to business tenants. Rep. Ryan Yamane, who chairs the House water and land panel, worried about its constitutionality.

Souki referenced the state’s Land Reform Act of 1967, which applied to residential land. In that instance, the major landholder, Bishop Estate, sued. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld it, finding that the law served the public good by breaking up the state’s “feudal land tenure system.”

read … Feudal Land Tenure

New HPD Assist Chief Has Long History of Trouble

CB: …HPD Chief Louis Kealoha inexplicably has named Ryan Borges one of several assistant chiefs of the department. “Inexplicably” because Borges was convicted not just of domestic violence, but of terroristic threatening in 1994 for an assault against his wife that involved a handgun.

Federal law prohibits those convicted of crimes of domestic violence — even misdemeanors — from possessing a handgun. Borges likely wouldn’t be an armed police officer today, had Gov. Ben Cayetano not pardoned him in 2001.

Cayetano told Civil Beat last week that he felt Borges’ guilty plea to a misdemeanor in that case was “punishment enough” and that he didn’t think Borges would threaten his wife again.

But it’s far from clear that this second chance put Borges on the straight and narrow. In 2006, a temporary restraining order was sought against him for harassment. And in 2014, Borges’ daughter’s boyfriend got a temporary restraining order against the policeman, saying Borges had been threatening him for months.

The boyfriend only withdrew the TRO when the matter drew media coverage he didn’t expect or want.

Borges’ off-the-clock challenges haven’t impeded his career. He rose through the ranks to commander of the Windward District. His recent promotion elevates him to the third-highest position in the department…

read … Borges

NextEra-HEI hearings likely to be extended again

SA: Iwase said it looks like the PUC may be able to secure the same conference room at the Blaisdell from Feb. 29 to March 4.

He said the third round should conclude the evidentiary portion of the review. After the close of hearings, the parties will be able to file closing briefs, and then the board will take the entire application under advisement. Iwase said he could not predict when the PUC will make (announce) its decision about (to reject) the sale….

read … Going Through the Motions--Again

Monsanto is getting tired of being everybody's whipping boy

KE: Looks like Monsanto is getting tired of being everybody's whipping boy. Today's edition of The Garden Island features a letter from Daniel Goldstein, the company's Science Affairs Lead and Associate Medical Director, who identifies himself as a pediatrician and a father before blasting the “incorrect and misleading information” about glyphosate (Roundup) contained in two recent letters to the editor. He goes on to say:

Contrary to unsubstantiated claims, often promoted by groups with political aims, it does not cause a litany of health harms.

Talk about a losing cause. Monsanto could have folks working round the clock, and they'd still never scratch the surface of all the “incorrect and misleading information” perpetuated by “groups with political aims.”

It brings to mind testimony submitted by Zachary Hitchcock, chair of the Oahu Surfrider chapter, on the pesticide disclosure bill:

Pesticides are dangerous. A combination of chemicals and pesticides is even more so.

Hmmm. Which chemicals do you suppose he meant? Hydrogen? Oxygen? Sodium? Chloride?

And this is the group that is conducting “scientific research” on Kauai and attempting to dictate agricultural policy statewide.

read … Musings: The Beautiful Bozo

Anti-GMO Airhead Ing -- ban genetically-modified salmon in Hawaii

KHON: Critics call it “frankenfish,” a genetically engineered salmon the Food and Drug Administration says is safe to eat, but some Hawaii lawmakers don’t want it here in the islands.

Rep. Kaniela Ing introduced a bill that would ban the marketing and farming of genetically engineered salmon in Hawaii.

The fish is genetically modified with traces of the ocean pout, a type of eel ….

KE: Musings: As My Mama Used to Say

read … Franken Ing

95 Lose Jobs--Sugar plantation layoffs announced

MN: Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which will be shutting down operations at the end of the year, has announced its first set of layoffs. Ninety-five workers will lose their jobs on March 7, company officials said Tuesday.

Most of the layoffs will be from the planting operations as HC&S completes its final harvest. The closing of the state's last sugar plantation, announced in early January, will whittle the workforce from 675 to 15 by end of the harvest season at the end of the year, officials of the Maui company have said….

MN: Maui places twice in ‘expensive’ top 10

read … Activists Hoist a Champaign Toast

Brower: Turn Sand Island into Gigantic Homeless Tent City for 1,500

Some lawmakers want to see one of the state's largest parks turned into a big, legal homeless encampment.

The idea to turn the Sand Island Recreational Area into a safe zone for the homeless was discussed Tuesday, but was ultimately put on hold.

Supporters envision as many as 1,500 people living at the park for up to nine months. Housing options include tents, tiny homes, even cars.

The safe zone would be situated near the city's newest homeless shelter on Sand Island. And, proponents argue, the park already has parking, showers and restrooms.

"They're already doing that on the street illegally or in the park illegally so the state needs to come to the table and provide that option so people can do it legally until we get a better handle on the issue of homelessness," said state Rep. Tom Brower….

State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said there are 14 "unauthorized" homeless camps on Sand Island currently.

"We have a high vandalism issue there," he said.

The issue is causing a headache for some businesses, who have hired private security.

Tenants shell out more than $100,000 a year for security, said Rodney Kim, executive director of the Sand Island Business Association Rodney Kim. That cost that's doubled since 2010….

read … Guard Your Copper

Kahele’s Son to Seek Senate Nomination

HTH: …Kahele, a 41-year-old Hawaiian Airlines pilot and Hawaii Air National Guard major, said he is not taking anything for granted, but hopes to be able to see his father’s legislative priorities through the rest of the session….

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Hawaii County Democratic Party received three applications for the nomination process, which will take place at Keaukaha Elementary School, said Chair Phil Barnes. The application deadline is 6 p.m. today.

Barnes said the official applicants as of 3 p.m. were: Margarita “Dayday” Hopkins, former Hawaii County economic development specialist.

Dolly Strazar, former Lyman Museum executive director.

Donald Ikeda, Windward Planning Commission member and former County Councilmember….

Applicants must be party members in good standing, residents of the Senate district, which covers greater Hilo, and receive five signatures from party members in the district. The signatures must be sent to Barnes’ address at 64 Amauulu Road, but other information can be emailed to him at

The party will select three nominees Saturday, which Gov. David Ige will use to appoint a successor. The winner of the appointment process will have to run in this year’s Primary and General elections to keep the seat.

Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi said he will run in the election rather than seek the appointment….

read … Dynastic

Election-Related Bills Before Legislature

CB: Should elections be conducted exclusively by mail in Hawaii? Is it time to increase fines for failing to disclose campaign expenses and contributions? Do lobbyists need to be held to a higher standard of conduct?

read … Election Related

Senators Unanimously propose creation of new airport authority

PBN: Aeronautics is an area of potential growth for the state, but its development has stalled. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration included Hawaii as part of a partnership with the University of Alaska and the state of Oregon as one of six test sites that will allow drones to share airspace with commercial aircraft.

Competition to be included in this trio was intense as there were more than 50 proposals from 37 states. After being chosen, Alaska and Oregon worked to grant funds to develop their sites. Alaska put $5 million toward its project, while Oregon said it would spend $3.7 million on development.

Hawaii only received funding for its site in July. And to date, the Legislature has only approved $150,000 to be spent on the program. This is significantly reduced from the $470,000 Hawaii’s Office of Aerospace Development had asked for in 2014.

The bill is sponsored by all 25 members of the Senate….

Text: Senate Bill 3072

read … Authority

Push for victims’ constitutional right-to-know renewed at State Capitol

KHON: …A new push is being made to give victims the right to know more information about their attackers.

Advocates are once again seeking to make “Marsy’s Law” a constitutional amendment.

Read House Bill 1144 and Senate Bill 679, and House Bill 2120 and Senate Bill 3034in their entirety.

If adopted, it would give a victim the constitutional right to know more information about his or her attacker, including court dates or if they’re ever released on bail.

One advocate is Nicholas Iwamoto. In 2009, he was attacked on Koko Head Trail, pushed off a cliff and hospitalized in critical condition with 18 stab wounds.

The man behind it, Benjamin Davis, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity, and sent to Hawaii State Hospital. He was eventually allowed to attend classes at neighboring Windward Community College….

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Judiciary (JUD) passed HB 1144.

Meanwhile SB 679 was heard at Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL), but lawmakers delayed decision-making until Wednesday due to late testimony.

The committee reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. in Conference Room 16….

read … Push for victims’ constitutional right-to-know renewed at State Capitol

Report--Escapee Shot by Hawaii County Police

HTH: …media sources report the dead man is 29-year-old Scottie Yanagawa, wanted by police for questioning in a Jan. 31 shooting at Honolii and for furlough escape from Hale Nani Correctional Facility on Nov. 19….

read … Shooting

Push Hawaii lawmakers for pesticide buffer zones—but only for agriculture, not golf courses or other big pesticide users

CB: …they’re just a bunch of haoles trying to tell Hawaii what to do….

The House agriculture and environmental protection committees deferred decision-making on House Bill 2564 until 8:30 a.m., Feb. 16, in Room 325 at the Capitol….

Ashley Lukens, a lobbyist and director of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, said people in Hawaii are legitimately concerned about unintentional pesticide exposure that can happen when it drifts to schools or hospitals while being sprayed on a nearby field.—but they couldn’t care less if pesticide comes from golf courses. resorts, or other big users—just farms….

Maluafiti said it’s just another case of “mainland activists” who are “trying to save us from ourselves.” She called them “21st Century missionaries.”….

John Purcell, vice president of Monsanto, the largest genetically engineered seed company in the state, said Monsanto uses less than 1 percent of the restricted-use pesticides sold in the state….

read … Hypocrites

Humane Society Sticks up for Cat-Obsessives

SA: This Friday, two state Senate committees will hear a bill proposed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). If enacted, Senate Bill 2450 would ban the feeding of cats, dogs and other animals deemed predators on all state land.

State land includes state-owned beaches, parks, schools, ports, hiking trails, forests and so much more.

If this proposal is passed and signed into law, it would condemn outdoor cats to death by starvation and criminalize those who (obsessively) feed them.

read … Obsessive-Compulsive

Solar Contractor Pleads Guilty to Tax Cheating—May Get Prison 

KHON: The state Dept. of Taxation says Jason Ibara of Commercial Energy Hawaii pleaded guilty for failing to file his G.E.T. returns for 2011.

In addition to prison time, Ibara could be forced to pay a $25,000 fine when he’s sentenced in April.

Ibara has a history of white-collar crime — in 2002, he was sentenced to more than two years in prison for federal fraud violations after taking in more than $1 million in a fraudulent website hosting business.

read … Back to Prison?

Waipio: 308 Acres Bulldozed for Bankrupt, Incomplete Solar Farm

KITV: Crews have begun installing photovoltaic panels at Sun Edison's 49 megawatt solar farm in Central Oahu.  There are steel structures in place as far as the eye can see.

Right now, there are about 12,000 posts in the ground. It represents about 55 percent of the 308 acres.  But what you don't see is the financial drama playing out on Wall Street where Sun Edison's stock is shaky, closing at $2.46 a share.

Its money woes in the last few months prompted Hawaiian Electric to send a letter threatening to end a power purchasing agreement.  Sun Edison failed to meet a financing deadline on the first of January tied to the Waipio farm, 1 15-megawatt farm in Mililani and a 50-megawatt project in Kawailoa….

KHON: A year and a half later, PV system at energy-efficient Aiea library up and running

read … Bankruptcy

Talia's Bill To Curb US Military Child Abuse Passes House

IBT: Eleven years after five-year-old Talia Williams was tortured and beaten to death by her active-duty Army specialist father and her step-mother on an Air Force Base in Hawaii, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a bill to the Senate that would require Department of Defense (DOD) employees to report any suspected abuse on military bases or installations. The House voted by voice Tuesday to pass the legislation, which would require that individuals report it to both the state’s child protective services as well as to their military chain of command.

read … Talia’s Bill

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