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Sunday, February 28, 2016
February 28, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:42 PM :: 4958 Views

VIDEO: Tulsi Gabbard Resigns DNC, Endorses Bernie Sanders

Notice Overkill?

Last Week of Hearings—What’s on the Move?

Bureaucracy on Maui Leading to Water Shortage

Hawaii Kine Stuff - Setting the Record Straight with Al Gonzales

VIDEO: Republican Legislators on HMSA Imaging Mandate, Sex Trafficking, and Shark Fins

Feds Expanding Medicaid involvement in Hawaii homeless initiatives

Hawaii Right to Try Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support

Hawaii BOE Adopts New Standards for Science Education

Aha Constitution a Negotiating Position with Department of Interior

AP: …The delegates to the convention were brought in by Na‘i Aupuni. The proposed constitution will be presented to a vote by Hawaiians, Na‘i Aupuni has said.

The Interior Department will negotiate the issue of recognizing Native Hawaiians as a nation with representatives of the community. Opponents of the push for recognition by the U.S. government say it’s a move to make Native Hawaiians like American Indians. They also say the effort does nothing to correct the wrongs of the overthrow of the Native Hawaiian government by a group of American businessmen in 1893.

“The attempt to establish a single race-based nation violates the Aloha Spirit and goes against the will of the majority of Hawaiians,” said Kelii Akina, president of public policy think-tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii….

read … Negotiating Position

UH Proudly Announces: We are Closing Down Five Perfectly Good Telescopes

SA: …UH is ahead of schedule and on track to exceed the committed number of telescopes that will be decommissioned by that deadline.  (Yup.  Hawaii’s leading university proudly announces that it is dismantling some of world’s most advanced scientific instruments.)

The decommissioning plan was developed after numerous public discussions with residents and stakeholders (the police and courts refused to protect us from protesters) on Hawaii island. The plan was then approved by both the UH Board of Regents and the state Board of Land and Natural Resources at publicly noticed open meetings that included multiple opportunities for public input.

Specific plans already have been announced for the decommissioning of three telescopes.

Decommissioning of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and the UH Hilo Hoku Kea telescopes is now underway, and decommissioning of the UKIRT telescope was announced in October 2015, to be completed by the time the Thirty Meter Telescope would be in operation. The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and UKIRT were among the four telescopes identified in the decommissioning plan; the Hoku Kea telescope was not.

The commitment to the fourth telescope to be decommissioned by the end of the current master lease in 2033 also will be honored, along with a fifth telescope….

As explained:

read … Anti-Scientific madness

Hawaii: Crooks, Cronies Line up Behind Clinton—Anti-GMO Nuts Back Sanders

SA: Much or most of the Hawaii Democratic Party establishment is firmly in Clinton’s camp. When the Clinton campaign opens its Honolulu office today, organizers expect former Hawaii Govs. George Ariyoshi (jewel smuggler, under protection of Mafia Godfather Mehau), Ben Cayetano and John Waihee (Right Star) to attend along with former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Stephanie Ohigashi, chairwoman of the Hawaii Democratic Party, was a Hillary Clinton delegate from Hawaii in 2008 who became friends with the Clintons after Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign….

Clinton also appears to have a significant head start in the competition for delegates. Hawaii will send a total of 34 delegates to the Philadelphia convention this summer, including nine “superdelegates” who are free to support their favorite candidate regardless of the outcome of the Hawaii preference polling on March 26.

At least five of those superdelegates have already committed to Clinton, including Hawaii U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Mark Takai.

One of the officially “uncommitted” delegates is Gov. David Ige, who put in an appearance along with former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa last fall to offer encouragement to the crowd at a major “Ready for Hillary” pro-Clinton event in Honolulu….

The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, is busy setting up district-level organizations, sign waving, and engaging in classic get-out-the-vote activities. Volunteers are calling Sanders supporters to remind them of the date and time of the preference polling, and making sure they are both registered voters and party members, said Bart Dame, the lead representative of the Sanders campaign in Hawaii.

The message that volunteers want to convey to party members is that “there is a Bernie presence….”

A wild card in the race may be the movement surrounding the issues of banning or limiting cultivation of genetically modified organisms and restricting the use of pesticides in Hawaii agriculture. The activists who have been driving the movement have demonstrated an ability to organize in recent years, and Dame said the Sanders campaign in Hawaii is getting support from those networks on Kauai and Maui.

Sanders supports labeling of GMO products, while Dame said Clinton has been closely associated with Monsanto Co. and has been “a big advocate for agribusiness.”…

read … Crooks and Cronies vs Anti-GMO Nutjobs

Legislators’ crackpot plans muddle state’s real issues

Shapiro: >> Maui Sen. J. Kalani English said an old cocaine charge shouldn’t disqualify him from a lucrative state license to dispense medical marijuana, since the judge deferred acceptance of his guilty plea. Obviously, he’s confusing a second chance from a judge with a golden ticket from Willy Wonka.

>> Legislators quickly killed bills that would bar them from taking money from lobbyists during session or hiring their relatives, while advancing legislation to gut the state ethics code. At least they’re honest about their disregard for honesty.

>> In the closest thing to political reform this session, a bill by Rep. Kaniela Ing would allow imprisoned felons to vote. The theory is that criminals are the best judge of political talent.

read … Legislators’ crackpot plans muddle state’s real issues

Pathetic and Ineffectual Congressional Delegation Places Hawaii at Risk

Borreca: In one of the last interviews I had with him before he died, Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye talked about America’s foreign policy and one of his great concerns.

Here in Hawaii our big-picture worries may include dengue fever, Hawaiian Electric’s merger and everything about the city’s rail line, but there are bigger fears out there.

Although Inouye died in December of 2012, his worries in late October and the national foreign policy worry today are the same: China. …

read … since Inouye’s death, Hawaii’s place in the Pacific seems just a bit more dangerous

Feathering their own nest, UH Administrators Try to Peddle Tuition Hikes

HTH: The public will get to weigh in this spring on a three-year tuition plan which aims to attract more students to the University of Hawaii system and address a half-billion-dollar maintenance backlog, mostly at its flagship school.

The proposal, presented to the Board of Regents at its regular meeting in Hilo on Thursday, will next be shown to the public at 11 community meetings — one at each of the UH system’s campuses. Three of those meetings will take place on the Big Island — at UH-Hilo, Hawaii Community College and HCC’s new Palamanui campus. Dates will be set in the coming weeks, UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.

The plan, which starts in 2017-18, calls for 2 percent maximum tuition bumps systemwide, which is the lowest in years.

UH-Hilo and HCC resident and nonresident students would pay the same amount in 2017-18 as the year before and in years two and three, both would pay $72 more each year. Hikes would look the same for HCC resident and nonresidents students, who also would see no increase the first year and $72 more annually in years after.

Last year, UH-Hilo resident students forked over 4 percent more tuition to attend.

“I hope (the plan) is a welcome surprise for students,” said Risa Dickson, UH vice president for academic affairs. “We’ve gotten mostly positive feedback from students — there are always people who don’t want tuition increases — but the bottom line is, someone has to pay for education (fat administrative salaries and golden parachutes) and there are two places that comes from, one is the state and the other is the student….

read … an article titled ‘UH tuition plan aims to raise enrollment’

Two Years Later Still no Criminal Charges against Nepotistic Charter School Operators

SA: Whatever happened to the investigation of the Thompson Academy charter school’s principal and her sister who was employed as vice principal while working full time as a flight attendant? Also, a son was employed as athletic director though the school did not have an athletic program and a second son was hired as a teacher when he was just a high school graduate.

read … Political Connections Pay off

Is DoE Competent to Plan ‘Cool Schools’ Program? 

SA: Several funding measures have surfaced — Ige wants to borrow $100 million from a state green energy fund while Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Jill Tokuda favors using federal Medicaid reimbursement money — but the onus is on the DOE to sell its plan to lawmakers, then follow through.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke expressed doubts last week that the DOE is prepared to move ahead with Ige’s ambitious timeline.

Luke rightly called for a DOE plan with more specifics about how the department will prioritize the work.

read … Self-Answering Question

Omidyar, A&B, Parker Ranch Score $1.5M in IAL Tax Credits

SA: A ranch, a sugar cane plantation owner and a wealthy investor trying to start a dairy farm have received state tax credits under a program that rewards preservation of privately owned farmland in Hawaii.

The three entities — Parker Ranch, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and Pierre Omidyar — acquired $1.5 million in state tax credits for making investments in agricultural operations in 2014, according to a recent state Department of Agriculture report to the Legislature.

Parker Ranch also received about $417,000 worth of the same kind of tax credits in 2013, which was the first year anyone claimed such credits.

The tax credits were issued under an incentive package in the state’s “Important Agricultural Lands” program the Legislature created in 2008….

Annual limits cap the total amount of tax credit payments at $1 million per recipient, with maximums of $625,000 in the first year, $250,000 in the second year and $125,000 in the third year.

A total credit payment cap of $7.5 million per year also exists, with credits issued on a first-come, first-served basis….

To date, only two other landowners — Kamehameha Schools and Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii — have obtained important ag land designations besides the three that claimed credits….

read … Political Connections Pay off

Removal of HC&S Water Means no Farms to Replace Cane Plantation

SA: …Our end goal is a patchwork of compatible agricultural activities blanketing central Maui — some farmed by HC&S, some by others.

We see biofuel crops that could provide electricity or transportation fuel to support the state’s renewable energy goals; irrigated pastures for local ranchers so their cattle don’t have to be sent to the mainland for finishing; food crops; evaluation of crops new to Hawaii, such as industrial hemp; and an agricultural park open to community farmers.

While we cannot say with certainty when our vision will be complete, we are determined to explore a number of different paths and assess their viability in a disciplined manner.

But for diversified agriculture to succeed, farmers need assurance that they will have access to water for their crops.

It is the East Maui ditch system and the waters it collects that make central Maui lands productive. Without this, there will not be enough water available of proper quality to farm across the central valley. Less water means less agriculture….

read … Don’t worry, they can plant condos

Seeing a NextEra Conspiracy Where There is None

IM: Hawaiian Electric Company cancelled three SunEdison contracts to build utility-scale grid-connected solar generation facilities on Oahu.

One Hawaii energy watchdog saw a potential conspiracy. Perhaps NextEra heavy-handedness was involved.

“NextEra claims that it simply approved HECO's decision, but obtaining emails between NextEra and HECO might indicate otherwise, that NextEra directed HECO to reject the projects so NextEra can control them and push the PUC into approving their illicit marriage.”

SunEdison was on the brink of the cliff looking down. In the space of less than a year its price share had fallen by over 95 percent.  Some speculated that Sun Edison was about to bite the dust. The HECO decision to cancel contracts added to the speculation.

SunEdison Inc. is a global renewable energy company headquartered in the U.S. In addition to developing, building, owning, and operating solar power plants and wind energy plants, it also manufactures high purity polysilicon, monocrystalline silicon ingots, silicon wafers, solar modules, solar energy systems, and solar module racking systems.

SunEdison rebounded this week. Vivint Solar shareholders overwhelming approved a merger agreement with SunEdison. Activist investor Appaloosa Management lost its attempt to get an injunction to prevent SunEdison from using capital from its yieldco, Terraform Power, to finance the deal….

read … Seeing a NextEra Conspiracy Where There is None

Dopers: Lack of Labs Gives us Excuse to Transport Kilos of Marijuana on Airlines

AP: …Under a law passed in 2015, Hawaii will grant eight licenses for marijuana businesses, each of which can have two production centers and two dispensaries. Three licenses will be awarded for Oahu, two for Hawaii Island, two for Maui and one for Kauai.

However, the law banned inter-island transport. Marijuana advocates say that will separate the industry into distinct economies on each island, unlike other states. It could also lead to marijuana shortages, and go as far as preventing some dispensaries from even selling marijuana until laboratories are approved.

All medical marijuana must be tested in a state-approved laboratory before it's sold, but currently, there are none in Hawaii. Some worry that high startup costs and low patient numbers will prevent laboratories from opening on rural islands.

"Clearly, not every island can support a full-on laboratory," said Pam Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group.

In response, Hawaii lawmakers are considering whether to allow marijuana to be transported to another island if a laboratory isn't available. Rep. Della Au Belatti, who introduced the bill, said lawmakers are trying to figure out how to get around federal laws that prevent marijuana from being transported by sea or air. She said she asked state agencies to look at other state policies for answers.

Some airports in Washington, Oregon and Alaska allow travelers to fly with marijuana, airport officials told The Associated Press. They said the Transportation Security Administration sends travelers with marijuana to local law enforcement officers, who allow people to board flights carrying legal amounts under state law….

read … Excuses

Activists Change Kauai’s Image

KE: In traveling around the Islands, talking to farmers and scientists and policy-makers, I keep hearing, when people ask where I'm from: “Oh, Kauai. That's ground zero, isn't it?”

They aren't referring to GMO field trials or crops, but the hostility and hatred that has been focused against them, and by extension, any form of agriculture that doesn't pass the non-farming activist smell test.

The mention of Kauai used to elicit quite a different response around the state: old-school, charming, still Hawaiian, special. Folks had a sense that it was a little oasis preserving the most wonderful aspects of Hawaii. And now, thanks to Gary Hooser, Hawaii SEED, Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice and GMO-Free Kauai, it's viewed as the center of a shit storm….

read … Musings: No Free Lunch

Taro isn't Maui's future either

MN: When most of HC&S’s water is returned to the streams of East and West Maui, how much of HC&S’s agricultural output will be replaced by other crops?

Taro sounds attractive.

Poi sells at the grocery for $17-18 a pound. (I eat poi every week, usually with ahi shoyu poke. Poi is the only starch I know of that costs more than the protein it is commonly eaten with.)

Yields per acre are high, 8,000-10,000 pounds. At 70 cents a pound, that’s as much as $7,000 an acre.

Demand is high. Hawaii imports over half its poi taro, mostly from Fiji. Taro/kalo has cultural as well as nutritional values going for it.

So how much additional lo’i acreage can we anticipate from the release of sugar water? None.

That’s zero, zip, nil, nada, nothing.

Since 2010, taro acreage (not all in lo’i) has dropped 25%. That’s not because HC&S was hogging the water.

It’s lack of interest in working 10-12-hour days bent over in mud. Also, the average taro farm is only a couple acres. Even at $7,000 an acre, that’s poverty wages….

read … Restating the Obvious

Mom sues again over education for hearing-impaired girl

MN: The Kahului mother of a hard-of-hearing 5-year-old girl is taking the state Department of Education to court again, after claiming to have been denied after-school programs and extended school year services for her daughter.

Coty Luke had settled with the DOE in November after her daughter, Taysia-Lee Alexander, had been out of the classroom for about two months. Luke argued that her daughter - who has severe-to-profound sensory neural hearing loss - was not receiving required services and teaching methods as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

read … Sues Again

Medicare Cuts End Medical Equipment Purchases on Sister Isles

MN: Neighbor Island medical equipment companies are bracing for change as new Medicare reimbursements take effect this year.

Despite years of gripes that the federal health care program's payment rates are too low, Medicare is extending its rates nationwide this year, including nonurban and rural areas that had previously been exempt. And while the rates are touted as saving both the program and beneficiaries money, durable medical equipment companies fear lower reimbursements will hamper services to Medicare clients. For communities like Maui that rely on a few small local providers for equipment, it's a worrisome prospect.

Maui- and Kauai-based Gammie HomeCare, for one, will stop accepting most Medicare clients starting April 1. The company currently accepts Medicare clients but at a loss, owner Paul Gammie said….

read … April 1

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