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Thursday, April 28, 2016
April 28, 3016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:39 PM :: 4798 Views

Big Island 30 Days Without Dengue

Hawaii: Two Anti-Gun Bills Enrolled to Governor

Hawaii 3rd Most Expensive Home Health Care in U.S.

City auditor accuses rail officials of intimidation

HNN: City Auditor Edwin Young today claimed that rail officials tried to intimidate his audit team when they reviewed the rail authority's finances….

…he told several people that rail staffers withheld documents and were confrontational with his employees.

"Unfortunately, we have to report that the auditee tried to impair the audit process by taking unprofessional and inappropriate actions," Young said. "We will probably be doing follow-up work on this audit to address issues which were not incorporated in the resolution but which we see ... as high risk and potential misuse." …

The City Auditor concluded that HART's financial plans were not reliable, that cost projections lacked supporting documentation and that it had no plans for operating and maintenance costs….

Council members also expressed frustration that they won't know whether future costs overruns are likely until early next year….

CB: ‘Final’ Price Tag For Rail Not Expected Until Next Year

KITV: City Council Budget Committee takes up rail audit

read … City auditor accuses rail officials of intimidation

The Hawaii House: Roadmap to Political Factions

CB: Loyalists, Dissidents, the Fab Four and the Three Amigos.

These four factions, and others within the 51-member Hawaii House of Representatives, form alliances that determine leadership structures, influence what bills become law and affect who wins elections.

It’s about political power at the Capitol. But these allegiances also can have dramatic effects on constituents back home. The ruling faction’s leaders decide who serves as committee chairs — the gatekeepers of legislation — and what projects receive funding, whether that’s a new school, prison or hospital….

read … The Hawaii House: Where Factions Determine Power And Influence

Telescope: Kashmir Being Evaluated as TMT Site

HI: …The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project is the joint responsibility of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) from India. As per Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) under DST, the TMT is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA.

The Evaluation process for an appropriate site includes scientific suitability (water vapour in the atmosphere, atmospheric turbulence and number of cloud-free nights in a year), infrastructure and logistics for setting-up of such a large international scientific project. 

While Mauna Kea, Hawaii is the preferred choice for the TMT project, given the large investments that have already been made and committed, the project is also looking at alternate sites both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Hanle, Ladakh is one of the sites being evaluated for hosting the telescope. Hanle being the protected area in the state of J&K (Jammu & Kashmir, parts of which are claimed by China and Pakistan), the project requires clearances from State and Central agencies such as environmental, defence, external affairs and home affairs. (Notice: Bureaucrats are more fearsome than Muslim head-choppers and Chinese battalions.)

The total cost of TMT project is about $1.5 billion. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for India’s participation in the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA at a total cost of Rs 1299.8 crore from 2014-2023. …

HTH: Three Federal Vehicles Stolen from Astronomy Institute in Hilo

read … Coming to Kashmir 

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha Claims to Know Nothing About Investigation into ethics, corruption allegations

KHON: GM: We’re told that the special prosecutor is looking at criminal allegations like corruption, civil rights violations, obstruction, honest services fraud, how do you overcome that?

LK: First of all, we were never formally informed there was an investigation. No legitimate source has come out and told us that. All we know is what we read in the papers or see on the news, and so we hear about these allegations, but I want to know, what specifically they are talking about when they say abuse of power and police corruption? So it’s very difficult. Like I said, there’s a lot of uncertainty and we’re just waiting to see if anything drops or what’s going to happen, so we don’t know.

GM: If an officer is accused of something, they’ll often be ROPAed (Restriction of Police Authority), put on desk duty. You’re under a cloud of suspicion from the grand jury. Should you be doing your job or stepping aside until it’s over?

LK: That’s a good question and here’s the answer. I’m no different than any other officer, whether it’s in the top administration and top brass, or an officer walking the beat. I’m no different than that. I don’t expect to be treated differently than that. The difference here is that whenever one of our officers are put under investigation or ROPAed is that they are served with a complaint. I’ve never been served with any complaint. Until then, I shouldn’t be on ROPA because that’s the due process. Serve me with a complaint, allow me to respond to the complaint and then we can go from there….

read … HPD Chief Louis Kealoha and wife break silence on ethics, corruption allegations

Prosecutor Retaliates on HPD Officer Believed to be Behind Leaks

CB: Honolulu police officer Garret Davis was helping a stranded motorist on the H1 freeway on Jan. 21, 2012, when a pick-up truck slammed into his patrol car and killed him. He was 28 years old.

More than four years later, the driver of that vehicle, Scott Ebert, of Mililani, has been put on trial for manslaughter. Court proceedings are ongoing, and closing arguments are expected Friday.

But an added wrinkle in the case has led the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to file a complaint with the Honolulu Police Department’s internal affairs division over the actions of one of its officers.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Civil Beat, HPD officer Daryl Takata reached out to Davis’ sister, Amanda Stevens, in November, to tell her that prosecutors were planning to drop the manslaughter case against Ebert. There were no such plans.  (More realistic interpretation: Somebody in the prosecutor’s office and/or HPD fed this story to Takata in order to set him up.)

The complaint states that Takata, who is a corporal, identified himself as a detective (sure, whatever)  and told Stevens that she should contact Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano to see if she could help. Kawano is well-known for her reports about the internal dealings of HPD and other law enforcement agencies. Kawano and her husband had bought Takata’s landscaping business, Lawn and Order, in September 2015.  (This tipped HPD off to Takata’s source.  Two months later, the trap was set.)

Deputy prosecutor Adrian Dhakhwa, the state’s lead attorney in the Ebert case, filed the complaint against Takata….

read … RETALIATION

HB2391: Legislators Approve Plan to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out on Streets

SA:  The state correctional system will likely be able to begin releasing misdemeanor criminal offenders in the coming months as a way to ease severe overcrowding in Hawaii jails.

House Bill 2391, part of Gov. David Ige’s legislative package, unanimously passed conference committee on Wednesday, a crucial hurdle in the final days of this legislative session. The full House and Senate are expected to approve the bill and send it to Ige for consideration….

The bill would only allow low-level, nonviolent offenders to be released early. Inmates who have been denied bail or have had bail set at more than $5,000 would not qualify. Inmates also can’t have a history of violence or threatened violence, sexual harassment, stalking or violations of restraining or protective orders.  (IQ Test: Do you believe these restrictions will be observed?)

Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has opposed the bill, arguing in testimony that while overcrowding is a concern, “public safety should always stand alone as a top priority.”

The bill would require DPS to submit annual reports to the Legislature on how the program is working, including any post-release offenses by inmates. The bill would expire in July 2020….

read … Early release of nonviolent prisoners approved by key panel

After Months of Wheedling, TAT Remains Exactly Where it Started

CB: House and Senate lawmakers agreed Wednesday to give the counties $103 million of state hotel tax money for fiscal 2017, which starts July 1.

They left the percent each county receives unchanged. The House had proposed reducing Honolulu’s share by 14 percent and boosting the amount each neighbor island gets.

Instead, Honolulu will continue to receive 44.1 percent, Kauai will get 14.5 percent, Hawaii will get 18.6 percent and Maui will receive 22.8 percent.

MN: Maui County to see no increase from hotel room tax revenues for 2017

read … Status Quo

East Hawaii Hospitals Next to Privatize?

PBN: …The East Hawaii HHSC region operates three facilities, including Hilo Medical Center, Hale Hoola Hamakua, and Kau Hospital, in addition to the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.

Adventist Health oversees a $3.5-billion, 40-rural hospital network in California. A market development official visited the region last fall at Hilo Medical Center to discuss possible partnership options.

“Since they came and visited we had some further communication, but mostly for them to get a better understanding of our region and how all that the regions and hospitals are structured in the state system,” Brinkmann told PBN. “We're pretty unique being quasi-governmental, and they have watched the whole arrangement with Maui closely, so I think over the last few months it's been an education for Adventist about what is involved for them to potentially partner. They understand we don’t have enabling legislation and how important that is.”

Brinkman says the region will likely pursue legislation that would allow it to have a choice whether to partner with a private entity or maintain operations as they are….

read … Next

State Aims To Develop 22,500 Affordable Rental Housing Units in Decade

CB: A bill garnering support from advocates of both business interests and social services sets a state goal of developing at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units over the next decade.

The first of those units could be ready for occupancy in January.

Senate Bill 2561 was approved in conference committee Wednesday and now goes to the full House and Senate for votes.

In addition to the development goal, the bill would set up a temporary “action team” to facilitate the goal. How much funding that action team would receive will be determined in the coming days….

PBN: Hawaii public housing redevelopment could include 1,500-plus homes

read … Over Decade?

Homeless Drug Addicts Dumping More dirty syringes in Oahu parks

HNN:  …City officials confirm that since the city increased homeless sweeps, hypodermic needles have been found in more areas. Workers have found syringes at more than 30 parks, bike paths and sidewalks from Makaha to Waimanalo.

Syringes are most commonly found from McCully to Kapahulu, the city said.

That's not the only alarming trend that workers with the Community Health Outreach Work (CHOW) Project are seeing.

The nonprofit runs for a one-for-one syringe exchange program, accepting used syringes and giving out new ones in a way to reduce the transmission of HIV and hepatitis, and is reporting a big uptick in the number of syringes turned in.

Over the past three months, workers from the CHOW Project have collected 123,000 dirty syringes on Oahu. That's up by more than 10,000, compared to the same period last year.

On a recent morning, a CHOW van is parked at the corner of River Street and Vineyard Boulevard, and workers are accepting used syringes. The van will see almost 40 people a day….

…more than 1,000 syringes have been dropped off in about an hour….

read … A bunch of drug addicts

Enviros Becoming Dimly Aware that Wind Energy is a Fraud

IM: Hawaii legislators have wrestled with the idea of set-backs for wind turbines.

This is part of a broader fight that pits Greens against Greens, and Urban Communities against Rural Communities….

ʻGreensʻ have been pushing hard to industrialize this precious natural treasure – all with the aim of ‘saving the planet’. They have proposed the construction of dozens of wind parks of 200-meter tall turbines across the country side.

In the early days, wind turbines were viewed as sort of a novelty and many communities even lobbied to get them. However, as wind parks sprouted across the country, people woke up to the natural destruction and overall inefficiency the wind energy has wreaked. Today, the BR report tells us that the tipping point has been reached: wind parks are no longer welcome; They’re too ugly, noisy, inefficient and only a very few profit from them at the expense of the many.” ….

read … Green Profiteers

Guardian: Hawaii Agriculture to be Replaced with ‘Political Statement’

TG: As the industry winds down, a new generation of activists are dreaming of replacing sugar with a new agricultural model – and a new political settlement….

read … Hawaii's last sugar harvest paves the way for a fight over the land's future

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