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Wednesday, March 30, 2016
March 30, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:17 PM :: 3332 Views

Photos: Hate-Fueled Attack on Mauna Kea Radio Telescope

Beyond Political Sovereignty: Pathways for Native Hawaiian Advancement

Solving Hawaii Housing Crisis Through Land Use Reform

Ige releases $5 million for design of new West Oahu high school

Presidential Caucus: Hawaii Republicans Show How it is Done

It’s Time For Hawaii To Move To State-Run Presidential Primaries

CB: In the 2008 Democratic presidential preference poll in Hawaii, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai — then a state legislator — remembers making a rushed trip to a copy store to make more ballots for his precinct. It wasn’t his job, but with voters flooding in to vote for Barack Obama, it was clear there weren’t enough.

“And they still ran out of ballots,” he recalled Monday at a Civil Beat Editorial Board meeting, noting that in the end, voters were reduced to making handmade ballots out of scratch paper.

Saturday’s poorly organized poll was an improvement over 2008, but not by much. Rather than continuing with a party-run poll with poorly understood rules and credibility that in a close race could easily be called into question, it’s time to get rid of the preference poll and move to a formal primary, as most other states have done over the past 100 years….

We’re not alone in believing a primary system for both Democrats and Republicans would represent an upgrade in how Hawaii makes its preferences known in presidential nominating races. Takai called for the change in his meeting at Civil Beat, and more and more people are raising the idea on social media and in other public forums….

Moving to a formal primary system would require passage of authorizing legislation by the state Legislature and a sign-off from the governor and appropriation of necessary monies to fund the elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Such decisions are often made in consultation with major party leaders.

March 29, 2016: Rep Mark Takai: Hawaii Should Switch to Presidential Primary System

read … Elections are too important to be turned into an electoral amateur hour.

Ige Administration Does Nothing as Telescope Prepares to Leave Hawaii

SA: Thirty Meter Telescope officials weren’t kidding when they said they would be looking for an alternative site for their $1.4 billion project.

Although officials have been reluctant to talk about their search, evidence of a worldwide hunt for a backup site has been popping up across the Internet.

Newspapers in India, Chile and the Canary Islands have either reported visits by a delegation of TMT officials or announced that they are coming….

The project — thwarted over the past year by Native Hawaiian protesters and a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling — needs a permit for construction on Mauna Kea by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, otherwise it would go to another mountain, said Ed Stone, TMT executive director.

Obtaining a permit by then would allow the TMT board to gather enough funding to launch construction in spring 2018, Stone said.

“We really need a place to build a telescope,” a frustrated Stone told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in February….

TMT officials say they continue to wait on the state to provide a new permit process and projected timeline after the state Supreme Court invalidated the project’s permit in December.

The state’s highest court ordered a new contested-case hearing after ruling that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources violated the state Constitution by holding the hearing only after the project’s conservation district use permit was approved.

Joshua Wisch, assistant to Attorney General Doug Chin, said state officials are close to selecting a hearings officer, but offered no timeline for the proceeding, saying it would be speculation.

read … Bye Bye Telescope

Affordable Housing Bills Inch Closer To Passage At Hawaii Legislature

CB: The measures include House Bill 2244, which is the primary vehicle for funding various housing programs.

It appropriates money to the Rental Housing Trust Fund, to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and for repair and maintenance of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority‘s existing public housing stock.

It also directs money to a rental assistance program known as “rapid re-housing,” which is coordinated by the state’s Department of Human Services to work with homeless people who are ready to rent permanently.

HB 2244 also appropriates money for continued implementation of the state’s Housing First program and its expansion to the neighbor islands.

Dollar figures continue to be left blank in that bill, however, as do figures for housing in homelessness programs in House Bill 1700….

Other bills getting WAM’s green light were House Bill 2166, which expands the low income-household renters’ income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status.

Americans for Democratic Action supports the bill, but the Tax Foundation of Hawaii testified that a better way to help people is to adjust state income tax rates “so those taxpayers will not need to pay tax or file returns.”

HB 2166 was amended to include Department of Taxation estimates of the revenue impact on the state — $11.2 million.

House Bill 2305 is also moving along. It’s intended to help the state’s Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund and the use of the fund, which provides loans and grants to finance infrastructure improvements in areas of planned growth.

The state Office of Planning likes the bill, mentioning the expectation of transit-oriented development around Honolulu rail stations.

House Bill 2293 also got the committee’s approval. It is designed to “enable” the HHFDC to develop mixed-use developments in partnership with state and county departments and agencies….

read … Inch Closer

HCDA: Close Kakaako Makai to Drive out Homeless Tent City

SA: A Hawaii Community Development Authority board member wants to temporarily shut down Kakaako Makai Gateway Park to “break the cycle” of constant sweeps to clear out the homeless only to see the camps return the next day….

Scott plans to talk to other board members before making a formal proposal, but said he believes HCDA “has the authority to close the parks for maintenance. Personally, at Gateway Park I would shut it down. I would love to see us just shut it down, close it up and go in and clean it up. There’s needles, there’s drug paraphernalia. We have to break this cycle where they’re just moving out to the sidewalk and — as soon as that firm cleans it out and is gone — they come back.” …

On Tuesday an estimated 55 to 75 people were living in 35 to 55 tents and structures in the area, said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator.

“It fluctuates on a daily basis,” Morishige said.

“Part of the challenge is that the individuals who are remaining in Kakaako have a high level of need,” he said. “They’ve been unsheltered for a long period of time, and we’ve reached the point that those individuals who are left are the most difficult to serve.”

One person with “mental health and behavioral concerns” has been homeless for 10 years, Morishige said.

Social service outreach workers continue to work with the person, “but it does take time to provide the right type of support and the right level of resources,” Morishige said. “Many of the individuals are trying to find housing but don’t have any ID at all. If you don’t have a picture ID or Social Security card or birth certificate, it’s very hard to move on. And some have criminal records preventing them from accessing housing or employment. But we are continuing to offer outreach services hand in hand with enforcement efforts.”

Scott described persistent unhealthy conditions.

“There’s a tremendous health hazard right now in Kakaako,” he said. “Surfers tell me they see people early in the morning take buckets of their waste right off of Point Panic and dump their waste right on the rocks there. This is not acceptable. It’s terrible. Surfers are looking at the possibility of infections. You see things floating by.”

Meanwhile: Star-Adv Editors Think Homeless Tent Cities are good idea sort of

read … Refusing Shelter

Pesticide Report:  No Harm to Human Health

KGI: The joint fact-finding group was established to evaluate existing studies to determine if pesticide use causes environmental and health effects. The group’s intention was to separate fact from fiction, to differentiate between anecdote and scientific data. The report clearly established there is no evidence of harm to human health or to flora and fauna due to agricultural use of pesticides on Kauai’s westside.

But instead of putting unfounded fear aside and moving forward as a community, the preliminary report as written has clouded these findings….

read … Clouded

Soft on Crime: Former Drug Dealer Billy Kenoi Arrested and Released

HNN: Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has turned himself in after being indicted last week on theft charges by a Hilo grand jury.

Kenoi was arrested and released about 11 a.m. Tuesday in Pahoa. He's set to appear in court Wednesday….

Last week, after a months-long investigation, a grand jury indicted Kenoi in connection with his alleged misuse of a government credit card.

Kenoi was charged with two counts of second-degree felony theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft, three counts of tampering with government records and one count of false swearing.

The felony theft charges are each punishable by up to five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

Since taking office, Kenoi has racked up more than $120,000 on his county purchasing card, or pCard….

SA: County Council members carry their load of guilt for not reprimanding Kenoi.

read … Soft on Crime

Will House Finance Committee Hear Crime victims rights’ bill?

HNN: …Alleged offenders and convicted criminals all have constitutionally protected rights, but that's not true for all victims and their families.
Hawai'i is one of 18 states that doesn't guarantee victims of violent crimes will be notified about court proceedings -- or major developments in their case -- like a convicted rapist being released on parole.
Marsy's Law for Hawai'i would change that. The bill is named after Marsy Nicholas a UC Santa Barbara student who was shot by her ex-boyfriend. A week after the murder, her family was confronted by the accused killer, who they didn't know was released on bail.
The legislation would amend Hawai'i's constitution to give victims of crime, and their families, permanent and enforceable rights to help them navigate an unfamiliar judicial system….

Officials say more than 140 victims have testified before lawmakers in support of the bill since January….

As a constitutional amendment -- if passed, it would go on a ballot and be up to Hawaii residents to decide. Officials say a recent poll indicates 73% of voters support it….

Officials say the bill has the support of the state Attorney General. It needs to pass both the House and Senate floors by a two-thirds majority, but it still faces a legislative hurdle to get there -- a final hearing before the House Finance committee by April 8….

read … Hard on Victims

Obama’s Gift to Hawaii:  Early release for Pahala Meth Dealer

AP: …At least one of the inmates is from Hawaii. David Lang Akana, from Pahala, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Feb. 2006 on cocaine and methamphetamine charges. With today’s commutation, his sentence is set to expire on July 28, 2016.

Obama, in a letter to the inmates receiving commutations, said the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance.” ….  (Second Chance = Recidivism)

Grant of Commutation: “David Lang Akana – Pahala, HI  --  Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; District of Hawaii

Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (February 15, 2006)”

KHON: "We checked Akana’s criminal records and found out that he was also found guilty of promoting a dangerous drug in 1992, and was sentenced to a year in prison. He was also found guilty of driving under the influence in 1978."

read … Obama orders early release for Pahala Meth Dealer

Lunatic Acquitted Killer Denied Off-Ground Privileges For Now

KGI: …A Kauai judge Tuesday denied a man acquitted of a 2005 murder of unescorted, off-ground privileges from a Hawaii hospital.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe said she was not convinced that Raymond Earl Ard, 52, would not be a threat to the community after doctors said a psychotic episode is what caused him to kill Dr. John Kerns and attempt to kill Kerns’ son and wife on Feb. 27, 2005.

“While he is restrained and restricted in a number of ways at the Hawaii State Hospital, if he were to get out it was just a matter of time with the psychosis and the combination of substance abuse, he can become a danger to the community,”she said.

Watanabe said she based her reasoning on the opinion of the three panel of doctors who unanimously said Ard was insane, but specifically Dr. Gerald McKenna’s report, which called Ard a “ticking time bomb.”

Ard, who suffers from bipolar disorder, is on medication to prevent psychotic episodes, said Dr. Margaret Grant, a witness for the defense at the hearing for Ard’s motion to allow him unescorted, off-ground privileges to attend alcoholic and narcotic anonymous treatment…. 

(Don’t worry the do-gooders will keep pecking away until this lunatic is out again.)

read … Soft on Crime

MPD cop arrested 5 times in 1 year, still on the force

HNN: …Hawaii News Now has obtained documents showing that a Maui police officer has been arrested five times in just over a year.

Those five arrests have happened between early January of 2015 and late January of 2016, offenses ranging from child endangerment, to DUI, to skipping court.

Rachel Garvin's trouble began in 2014 when she went by her married name, Kealoha. While picking up her son at school one day, two teachers believed that she was intoxicated but allowed her to leave with her son. A few minutes later, she crashed into a guardrail. Responding officers, including a lieutenant, didn't give her a field sobriety test and allowed her to leave the scene with a friend. An internal investigation led to a criminal investigation and she eventually plead no contest to a child endangerment charge in January of 2015 and was put on probation for a year.

Four months later, in May of 2015, Garvin was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer. The Maui Police Department sent out a news release about the incident but never mentioned that it was Garvin's second arrest or that she violated the terms and conditions of her probation.

Those two cases eventually led to three more arrests, which include violating her probation and missing two court dates which were scheduled back-to-back weeks in January of 2016….

read … What does it take?

Three More Rusting Wind Junk Projects proposed for Waters off O`ahu

HTH: …Proposed Sites are now available. AW Hawaii Wind, LLC (AWH) proposed a Kaena Floating Wind Energy Facility and a Diamond Head Floating Wind Energy Facility adjacent to Penguin Bank. Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind proposed a Kalaeloa Floating Wind Energy Facility.

Progression considered five floating sites, but rejected four before submitting one site to BOEM.….

Related: Oahu Windfarm Proposed for Live Explosives Dumping Area

read … Three Floating Wind Projects proposed for O`ahu

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