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Friday, February 26, 2016
February 26, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:52 PM :: 5362 Views

If judges act like politicians, shouldn't they be treated like politicians?

Court: Kawananakoa Can’t Sue Over Tainted Rail Votes

Puerto Rico moves to privatize local ferry services

Report: Educational Attainment in Hawaii

Hawaiians Reject Fake Indian Tribe

CB: The Thursday night event attracted 350 people, according to one of the speakers, to what was billed as “a historic gathering of Hawaiian sovereignty leaders.” …

In addition to Ritte, speakers included Andre Perez and Healani Sonoda-Pale. The primary message was a call for unity.…

Ritte, a longtime activist from Molokai, initially applied to run for a delegate position at the Nai Aupuni aha, but later opted out. He questioned the agenda and independence of Nai Aupuni, which is supported by grant money from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs through the nonprofit Akamai Foundation.

Thursday’s gathering was the other aha — or the “real aha,” as convener Kalama Niheu put it, to build lahui — a nation.

Another speaker, Healani Sonoda-Pale, was more blunt: Nai Aupuni is “a state-sponsored process to create a puppet Hawaiian government” that will lead to a global settlement on Hawaiian lands. The settlement, she said, would result in the selling off of the lands for development, never to be returned to Hawaiians….

Nai Aupuni has also been subject to lawsuits by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which sought to halt Nai Aupuni’s election of aha delegates last November, saying it was unconstitutional.

After several court rulings, Nai Aupuni decided to abandon the electoral process and invite all of the more than 200 candidates to participate in the aha. About 150 accepted.

The purpose of Aha Aloha Aina is to not only oppose Nai Aupuni but to also reject U.S. Department of the Interior efforts to federally recognize Hawaiians in a manner similar to other indigenous groups….

Aha Aloha Aina dismisses the authenticity of Nai Aupuni ‘s aha, which it said in a statement is “attempting to claim that they represent the Kanaka Maoli community when it excludes 80 percent of our people.”…

The new group has already begun to attract attention, as when seven Hawaiians were arrested Monday trying to attend the closed-door meetings of Nai Aupuni….

Nai Aupuni downplayed the Aha Aloha Aina protest, saying in a press release the next day, “Despite a delayed start due to a large number of participants being unable to enter the venue on time – given demonstrations outside the gate to the property – the Aha continued work on drafting the governing document(s). After the wehena (opening), a short discussion took place to have a statement from the demonstrators read on the floor.”…

read … No Indian Tribe

HB1653: How 100% Mail-In Voting Could Shut Down anti-GMO Activism Statewide

Borreca: Sometimes, even in the Legislature, you just can’t argue against the overwhelming weight of common sense.  (Translation: We are pushing this and if you oppose us, we will pretend you don’t exist.)

Now chugging through the Legislature is House Bill 1653, which would slowly make it state law that elections in Hawaii would be conducted by mail….

…the plan is to start  with Kauai going all-mail in 2018, followed by Maui and Hawaii County in 2020, then Oahu in 2022….

November, 2014: Maui Anti-GMO initiative losing 59% no – 40% yes first read (ie all absentee—but watch what happens as the election day votes get counted), 54% - 43% second read, wins 50% to 48.1% on third read (50.2 to 47.9 on fourth read).  In almost mirror-image contrast to the people who voted absentee, same-day voters voted 59% to 41% in favor of the anti-GMO initiative.  Only 1.9% cast blank ballots.

(This pattern held in elections statewide where GMOs were an issue.)

read … This could be the year that all-mail voting is approved

Sen J Kalani ‘Powdernose’ English on Cocaine Conviction—Nothing to see here, just move along

MN: Maui Sen. J. Kalani English said there is "no conflict" of interest as he votes and introduces bills on medical marijuana despite the fact that he is part of a hui seeking a medical marijuana dispensary license from the state.

"We are part-time legislators. We are expected to have outside jobs.”  (LOLROTF!)

English added that there was "not much to say" about his expunged cocaine possession (felony dealing) case from 1988, as "legally I can say there is no conviction" because he completed court requirements to erase the charge from his record. (IQ test: T or F?)

State Department of Health interim rules say that company members seeking a dispensary license cannot have felony convictions….

Questions about English participating in marijuana legislation and his expunged record surfaced in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser story Sunday. 

(Actually, these questions surfaced in the Hawai’i Free Press a week before Sunday, the Star-Adv and Maui News are just tagging along….)

Executive Director Les Kondo told the Star-Advertiser that lawmakers are exempt from conflict-of-interest restrictions regarding voting or participating officially in matters as legislators, according to the State Code of Ethics.  (Which means it’s only the felony cocaine dealing conviction which can knock English out of the dope derby.  Will the  other wanna-be dope dealers step up the pressure?)

English said this week, adding he had received a letter from the attorney general stating that with the expungement he can say under oath he doesn't have a felony on his record. (Another IQ test: Did you notice this is not the same as saying he has never been convicted?)

Overall, English said he had hoped that "some of the small guys (like me) would have a chance" at obtaining a medical marijuana dispensary license….”

(SO when he says he is looking out for the little guy, he means he is looking out for himself.)

read … Powdernose

DLNR Lease puts Kai Kahele’s residency in question: Senate seat requires Hilo home; DLNR requires Milolii residency

HTH: Kai Kahele, recently appointed by Gov. David Ige to fill the Hilo state Senate seat of his late father, Sen. Gil Kahele, holds a low-cost state land lease for oceanview property in West Hawaii that is legally required to be his primary residence.

But Kahele, 41, instead listed the Keneki Place, Hilo, home he now co-owns with his mother as his residence when he entered his name for consideration for the nomination to the seat vacated by his father’s passing.

State law regarding appointments to empty state Senate seats dictates that, “the appointee shall, at the time of appointment, be a resident of the same Senate district as the prior incumbent.”

Kahele on July 20, 2011, paid $35,000 for assignment of a Milolii lease from Sally Kahikinaokala Dacalio. He is required to pay $132 annual rent as a condition of the lease, according to documents obtained by West Hawaii Today.

The 65-year lease, expiring in 2059, must be used “solely for residential purposes as the lessee’s principal domicile,” according to a two-page agreement approved by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Sept. 9, 2011….

read … Residency

Cigarette tax hike advances

SA: Senate Bill 2690 would increase the tax to 20 cents per cigarette from 16 cents, or an increase of 25 percent. That would boost the state tax on a package of 20 cigarettes from $3.20 today to $4 when the bill takes effect….

SB2690: Text, Status

read … Another Tax Hike

HB1751: Green Energy Scams Nobody Knows About Yet

IM: The Hawai`i definition of renewable energy includes all solar, wind, water, vegetation and geothermal. Anything from the ocean, land or landfill that is renewable. Any gas that comes from nature and is replenished. Also included are biofuels made with large fossil fuel inputs, and all fossil fuel products burned in garbage-to-energy generators.

House Bill 1751 noted that there may be “other resources that replenish themselves at a sufficient rate for sustainable economic extraction in meaningful human timeframes."

Imagine having to name one to pass a test.

The entities pushing the bill are the Gas Company, Moloka`i Chamber of Commerce, Mele Associates, HP Energy, and the venture capitalist firm Ulupono Initiative (ie: Omidyar, Civil Beat).

Some may remember that Aina Koa Pono (AKP) was the single most expensive renewable energy project proposed in this State. HECO ratepayers would have had to provide a quarter of a billion dollars to HELCO ratepayers to subsidize the boondoggle. The PUC twice rejected the proposal. Mele Associates was a co-founder of AKP….

DBEDT asserted that the definition “is too broad and could be subject to interpretation, making it difficult to implement the will of the legislature.”

The Hawaii Energy Policy Forum “has grave concerns about HB 1751 HD1 as currently drafted, which is vague and ambiguous.”

The Distributed Energy Resources Council of Hawaii stated, “We are concerned over the vagueness of the language.”

Life of the Land opined that the language “is ambiguous at best.”

No one in favor of it was willing to testify in front of the committee.

read … Expanding Definitions to Where No One Has Gone Before

Expert: Hawaii would save money with liquefied natural gas

HNN: An independent energy expert said the governor and environmentalists are wrong to reject liquified natural gas in the state's effort to convert 100 percent to renewable energy in 30 years….

"I think you need to put all the tools on the table, try to pick the most cost-effective way to get toward your goals as you can," said John Cole, who represented Hawaii electricity ratepayers for two years as consumer advocate followed by six years on the Public Utilities Commission.

Cole, who is now a researcher at the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, said ruling out LNG is a bad idea.

Cole said besides being cheaper for consumers, LNG emits about 30 percent less pollution than current power generation plants, so it's a good interim measure on the way to the state's goal of meeting all its energy needs with solar, wind and other renewables by 2045.

"If it can save some money along the way, in total, including paying back for any necessary infrastructure, can reduce emissions and help comply with regulations at a lower cost," Cole said….

But State Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the House energy committee (is flacking for the solar schemers and the wind scammers, so he will do anything to keep electricity expensive)

read … LNG

Criminal trespass bill aims to fight Keehi harbor thefts, drug dealing

HNN: There are persistent problems at Keehi Small Boat Harbor that boating division Director Ed Underwood wants to have the power to stop.

"There's all sorts of stuff going on," he said. "There's drug dealing. There's theft."

Harbor regulars say boat break-ins happen all to often.

"I heard a lot of stories about people stealing a bunch of generators, going from little stuff to big stuff," said Dawn Agao, who works for a boat maintenance company.

There's a homeless camp next door to Keehi, and officials say some of the homeless come on harbor property at night.

So Underwood wants to lock some harbor facilities overnight, and Gov. David Ige wants to make it illegal to trespass on all state land when it's closed or restricted.

"If the person doesn't comply they can be arrested and removed from the facility," Underwood said.

Right now, if someone refuses to leave the harbor grounds the worst that happens is a citation.

Senate Bill 2816 creates a new criminal trespass law for state lands.

In testimony in opposition, the ACLU of Hawaii said criminal trespass laws "disproportionately affect homeless individuals and families tweekers."

read … Meth

ACLU Forces Police to Ticket 7,000 Tourists

KHON: In the past couple of years, as the city cracked down on park loitering with nightly closures. A whopping 7,000 tickets have been issued to people in parks after hours and many of them are tourists.

The Honolulu Prosecutors Office says they get several letters a week from out of state and foreign visitors who were ticketed, and they advise: Plead guilty or no contest by mail, or come back to town and go to trial. But they can’t ignore it or risk a warrant out for their arrest.

That’s causing heartburn not only for tourists, but tourism marketers and the visitor industry

“They want to be able to stroll at night so when they are made aware that we have certain rules especially curfews, that say….it sort of makes for an unpleasant situation at times because that’s not what they dreamed about,” said Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president and CEO Mufi Hannemann.

“The reality of it is these laws were made to keep the homeless people out of the parks at night. But to be fair (Translation: To keep the ACLU from getting a judge to overturn the law on grounds of selective enforcement.) they have to keep everybody out,” said Bakke. “Really the end result is you kick everybody out and you cite and bite the hand that feeds you with the tourists.”

read … Thanks to ACLU 

Cop charged in off-duty assault pleads not guilty

HTH: The police officer charged with assaulting a 72-year-old man while off-duty pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault Thursday.

Jami Harper, 39, of Kailua-Kona, allegedly injured the man who lived above him in the Kalanikai apartment complex on the night of Jan. 22 after a confrontation, which police said involved alcohol and sent both men to the hospital.

read … Assault

Hawaii least satisfied with affordability of local housing

PM: One in four Hawaii residents are satisfied with "the availability of good, affordable housing" where they live.

This is half as many as in the next lowest states - California, New York and Vermont, all with 50% satisfaction. Wisconsin (82%), Georgia (80%) and Idaho (80%) residents have the highest levels of housing satisfaction.

These results are based on Gallup's 50-State Poll, conducted March-December 2015….

read … Satisfied

Mom sues state Department of Education after son goes missing from school

KHON: The incident took place two years ago.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the boy, who was five at the time, walked away from Kauluwela Elementary School in Liliha during recess.

The boy’s parents weren’t notified until they arrived at school to pick him up.

The lawsuit says a bus driver spotted the boy, who walked to Waikiki….

The teacher responsible for watching the boy resigned in 2015.

read … Another Day in the DoE

State seeks an $15M in back taxes from online travel websites

HNN: After paying the state of Hawaii more than $50 million in back taxes last year, the nation largest online travel companies were hit with new multi-million tax bills.

According to the state, Expedia, Hotwire and seven other online firms owe another $15 million in general excise taxes for car rentals they booked in Hawaii dating back to the year 2000.

read … $15M

Legislative News:

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