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Wednesday, March 16, 2016
March 16, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:13 PM :: 3720 Views

HB2085: Ban Sale of Gasoline, Diesel Vehicles in Hawaii

House committee to hear ferry bill Wednesday morning

HB2555: Hemp Inc Behind Industrial Hemp Bill

Anti-Gun Bills up for Senate Vote

Hawaii County PD Seeks Community Input

Rail, TheBus and HandiVan Operations – Under HART or the Mayor?

State Hands IT Systems to New UH Tech Center

Feathering Their Own Nests, UH Administrators to Peddle Latest Round of Tuition Hikes at Public Meetings

Small Business Day at the Capitol, March 30

Na’i Aupuni Ratification Trick

Osorio: Three major problems with the ʻAha constitution

HI: Amid speculation about what will become of the Native Hawaiian Convention’s constitution, there are certain things that should be addressed. First, that the convention, composed by individuals who were not elected by anyone and whose placement came from a volunteer organization consisting of fewer than a half dozen officers and no membership, cannot claim to represent anyone but these unelected candidates themselves. Second, by limiting the membership of this ʻAha and the citizenry they identify in the constitution to “Native Hawaiians,” this document cannot accommodate either loyal Hawaiian Kingdom subjects nor Kanaka Maoli who are seeking decolonization and a UN approved exercise of our right to self-determination.

But the biggest problem with this constitution is its silence on the issue of “Ceded Lands.” Instead it refers to something called “National Lands” which, lacking clarification must be assumed to be whatever lands are conveyed to it, presumably by the U.S. government or the State of Hawaiʻi. Unlike Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, which in 1987 laid claim to the “Ceded Lands” as our national lands, this document does nothing nearly so bold. This constitution says that, in terms of land, the Hawaiian government will take, not what it deserves and not what it is still entitled to; rather, it will take what it can get.

read … Three major problems with the ʻAha constitution

Honolulu rail project's chief architect departs, warns of project's future

PBN: “I developed numerous programs to enhance the project, such as the 'aesthetic column' program, the art-in-transit program and other widely accepted culturally based initiatives and educational features that will make this project truly exceptional.”

The $6.6 billion project is over budget and behind schedule. Caswell warns that as the project progresses, HART “might be tempted” to take some cost-saving features, which would be to the detriment of the segment that passes through Downtown Honolulu.

HART could “decrease the level of amenity for the stations and other patron facilities to reduce cost in the aesthetically sensitive, downtown section of the city,” Caswell said.

Since there are currently no plans to fill Caswell’s position at HART, the design criteria and standards for the remaining sections of the rail route will likely be left to the discretion of the firms holding the design-build contracts.

read … De-Railed

HB1751: Alt Energy Meeting Goals By Screwing With Definitions

IM: One method of making sure that Hawai`i reaches its renewable energy goal is by broadening the definition of renewable energy to include things that are sort-of renewable or that some people might think could be renewable.

One could make the definition ambiguous, include things which are clearly not renewable, add contradictory language, or include future things unknown at this time.

HB 1751 did just that.

HB1751 proposed that renewable energy is everything one might think of plus, “other resources that replenish themselves at a sufficient rate for sustainable economic extraction in meaningful human timeframes."

Most of the phrases in the preceding sentence are undefined and open to interpretation. HB 1751 then said that additional other things might also be included.

HB1751 HD1 shortened the length of the ambiguous clause but managed to added new language that threw in a number of undefined terms: “other self-replenishing non-fossil fuel resources.”

The Public Utilities Commission stressed the obvious.

“The Commission is unaware of any safe, viable, and commercially available renewable energy technologies do not fit under the current definition of "renewable energy"….

read … Meeting Goals By Screwing With Definitions

Consultant faults Hawaiian Electric for geothermal contract failure

PBN: …“Ormat made considerable efforts to reach an agreement with HELCO and we are disappointed that such an agreement could not be reached,” Michael Kaleikini, senior director for Hawaii affairs for Ormat, previously told PBN in an email. “Ormat greatly values our long standing relationship with [Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiary, HELCO] and we remain committed to helping the utility reach its ambitious renewable energy goals.”

Recently, Boston Pacific Co., the firm handling the bid process for the project, said in public documents sent to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, that it “became apparent that during the course of the RFP process that [a] lack of planning was impeding the possibility of having a successful outcome for all parties.”

The firm also noted that the “assumptions underlying the RFP were not transparent, did not support the type of resource being sought in the RFP and did not support the threshold price.”

“In summary, to some degree, it is possible that this RFP was doomed before it even began,” the Boston Pacific report said. “From the start, as we made clear, we could not state with certainty that there was a true need for an eastside geothermal resource and [that] the threshold price was realistic.”….

IM: Independent Observer is Critical of HELCO’s Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

DJ: Global Geothermal Power Projected to Double

read … Electrical Fault

DOE investigations into employees drag on for months

KHON: Right now, 37 employees from the Department of Education have an open case that is either being investigated or currently in the decision making process.

Back in November 2015, 28 employees had open cases and in December 2014, there were 63….

“having a lot of open cases, when people are being paid, the board became very concerned.”

In January there were 12 cases that were over a year old, now there are only 8.

And when you take a look at open cases taking up to 6 months to complete, back in January there were 21, now there are 24….

SA: Misconduct accusations give fewer educators paid leave

read … DOE investigations into employees drag on for months

Arakawa pushing for hard-wall housing units for Maui homeless

KHON: In Monday night's State of the County address, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa highlighted the Valley Isle's growing homeless problem. Help for some could be on the way---a proposal to purchase housing units is awaiting council approval.

"Our homeless population needs more immediate help. This is why we have a proposal before council to purchase state-of-the-art emergency housing units.

Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan flew up to Texas and North Carolina to inspect two model units. One model can house four people. The other accommodates 16.

"It would be divided into four different condominium units. You could have four individual units in each quadrant," Regan said.

The four person unit costs about $17,000 a piece, which includes shipping. The bigger option can run up to $88,000.

Mayor Arakawa is requesting the budget committee approve $990,000 for the purchase. It would be enough to shelter close to 200 homeless.

At one point Regan said they considered buying tents as a way to stretch funding. But the idea was quickly tossed aside….

read … Housing

Star Adv:  Steal Affordable Housing Credits from DHHL

SA: …Under the law, DHHL can claim affordable-housing credits from counties for existing houses, or units it plans to produce or, in some cases, residential lots it produces.

Then the state agency can transfer its credits to developers, both those that actually produce housing for its beneficiaries or for those that, in lieu of actual homes, pay cash to help finance Hawaiian homestead projects….

read …  Micah Kane’s Secret Weapon

2 top Hawaii TSA managers sue agency for discrimination, retaliation

HNN: …"They wanted my operational strength back in Honolulu. They felt that Honolulu needed to step up its game and really start to function at a higher level," Callahan Chuck told Hawaii News Now.

Within days of starting the assignment, she said she began reporting security and management problems to TSA's Hawaii director -- Stanford Miyamoto -- and putting together a plan to fix them.

"Rather than participating in the solution, which was resolving those situations, I think he took it as a personal attack.  And I think he has a problem with strong females and spent his energies retaliating against us," Callahan Chuck said….

read … Lawsuit

HPD Officer on trial for allegedly buying, selling stolen SUV

HNN: Motorcycle officer Landon Rudolfo has been on restricted duty for almost two years.  He's accused of buying a stolen Toyota 4Runner and then selling it….

The person who altered it, his former, fellow office at HPD, Roddy Tsunezumi.    Tsunezumi was buying junked cars at auction, and then had a career criminal, Jeremy Javillo, steal similar cars, so they could switch the VIN, that allowed them to sell the stolen cars.  The two did this multiple times before being caught when the FBI set them up with a pickup truck.

Both Javillo and Tsunezumi were sentenced last year to 33 months in federal prison.   As part of Tsunezumi's plea deal, he has to testify against Rudolfo. 

Tsunezumi's credibility will be an issue when he testifies.  He wasn't just convicted of the auto theft scheme, he was also convicted of ordering a Honolulu bar owner to pay thousands of dollars for protection.   In addition, Tsunezumi admitted to being a bookie for an online gambling site for more than a year and a half.  Court documents show he "…estimated that he collected a total of approximately $100,000…" for the website in that time and would have made his cut $20,000.   He was doing all this while he was a police officer….

read … Buying, Selling

Lawmakers consider releasing hundreds of inmates to Boost Crime Rate

KHON: Hundreds of Hawaii inmates could be released from jail to help ease overcrowding issues.

That’s if a bill making its way through the State Legislature becomes law.

House Bill 2391 would give the director of the Department of Public Safety power to release pre-trial or sentenced inmates, along with those who cannot make bail ….

read … Soft on Crime

Hawaii’s Largest Meth Dealer Gets Reduced Sentence

SA: …The leader of a drug trafficking ring charged in what’s been described as Hawaii’s largest crystal meth case is avoiding a mandatory 20-year minimum sentence because he testified at trials against his co-defendants.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi noted at John Tai’s sentencing today that he was assaulted in prison and his sister-in-law was shot because of his cooperation. Taking his “substantial cooperation” into account, Kobayashi sentenced him to about eight years in prison. He’s already served about five years.

Defense attorney Alan Baum says Tai and his family continue to fear retaliation.

The case involved 19 defendants, many of them Tai’s family members. They trafficked millions of dollars’ worth of meth to Hawaii….

read … Soft on Crime

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