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Saturday, April 30, 2016
April 30, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:41 PM :: 3663 Views

Caught 'Borrowing' Museum Funds, Bishop Museum CEO Quits

Who’s Running: Candidates Pulling Papers as of April 29, 2016

House Democrats: Ballot Photos, Gun Restrictions and Sex Change Operations

After Making a Mess of Rail, HPD—Top County Execs in Line for 5% Pay Hike

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City Council members, city department heads and other appointed employees will likely get 5 percent raises July 1 under recommendations issued last week by the city’s (oh-so-very-independent) Salary Commission.

(With the FBI hot on his heels, Chief Kealoha is in line for a $8664 pay hike.)

(After making a mess out of Rail, Caldwell is in line for an extra $7848 per year.)

The report also calls for eliminating a two-tier salary structure for staff attorneys in the Department of Corporation Counsel that is based on seniority. Corporation Counsel Donna Leong had submitted testimony on behalf of her 47 deputies seeking to eliminate the structure, created by the 2009 Salary Commission, arguing that it creates artificial salary differences and is ineffective.

Ray Soon, Caldwell’s chief of staff, had urged the commission to recommend raises of at least 2.5 percent for directors and deputies.

All seven members of the commission voted to support the recommended plan April 19. Caldwell, in a statement, said he supports the proposed increases.

Big Q: What do you think about 5 percent raises for the city’s top officials, as proposed?

read … Pay raises of 5 percent

Kealoha: The Real Problem is Will Espero

KHON: …Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a deputy county prosecutor, say they’ve done nothing wrong and nothing to warrant an ongoing federal grand jury that’s said to be looking into corruption allegations.

They allege others are just piling on now that they’re on the hot seat.

“This is something everyone wants to hang their hat on to promote themselves, so it is frustrating,” said Louis Kealoha. “It is disappointing in a way to see how this is unfolding.”

“If there are people doing that, who is doing that, and why?” asked Always Investigating.

“You have politicians, you know, trying to promote themselves throughout this whole thing. One of them is (Sen.) Will Espero. He isn’t an expert on how to lead a law enforcement agency,” said Louis Kealoha. “I feel what he’s doing is building his reputation, building his political career on the backs of my officers.”

Espero is vice chair of the Senate public safety committee.

“This is still within my purview as a lawmaker, and I’m somewhat disappointed that Chief Kealoha thinks I’m picking on him,” said Espero. “It’s about a whole department, let me make clear. That the majority of our police officers are professional, law-abiding citizens, but when we have the plethora, and the constant stream over the last several years of officers being involved in domestic violence, drugs, sexual assault, gambling, DUIs.” ….

KHON: Kealohas on witness intimidation

read … The Real Problem

HB1581: Fast-track contested case appeals

HTH: Certain high-profile contested case appeals, such as the one that set back the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope, could come to a speedier conclusion under a bill nearing its final vote.

House Bill 1581 would allow challenges to decisions considered to have significant statewide importance to go directly to the state Supreme Court, thereby bypassing lower courts. An amended version made it through a conference committee Thursday and is now set for final votes in the House and Senate.

In a press release, House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said the bill would reduce the amount of time it takes for important cases to be resolved. It also would allow the court to appoint someone to oversee cases remanded back to government agencies.

“This bill will hopefully pressure state departments and boards to make sure contested case hearings are conducted properly because they will know they could be appealed directly to the Supreme Court,” Saiki said.

read … Bill advances to fast-track contested case appeals

Ca-Ching! Solar Schemers Get $100M Cool Schools Contracts and Keep their GEMS, too

HNN: The money will come from the general fund, but with several stipulations.

While lawmakers say their top concern is to cool classrooms and improve students' learning environments, they say it has to be done in a way that will also move the state toward its long-term renewable energy goals.

"The Department of Education spends nearly $50 million a year on electricity and what we've found in schools that are converted to full air conditioning is that electric bill can sometimes double," said state Rep. Chris Lee (D - Kailua, Waimanalo).

"What we want to do is make sure that we're responsible with the money going forward. So we'll cool our schools, but at the same time balance that with energy efficiencies, LED lights and other things to reduce electric costs."

Lawmakers say the intention is to convert schools into energy net-zero campuses through the use of solar panels and other other heat abatement techniques, essentially creating green schools that produce as much renewable energy as they consume.

The $100 million will be spent on ceiling fans, solar-powered vents and air conditioning, with the hottest classrooms receiving first priority….

SA: Bill to Help Cool Schools Advances

read … Campaign Contributions are a good investment

Solar Contractors Kill Geothermal Bill in Conference Committee

IM: …Conference Committees started meeting at 9 a.m. and had to complete their work by 6 p.m.

Throughout the day, the committees met, passed a few bill, deferred (killed) a few bills, but mostly agreed to meet later in the day on the same bills.

As the day progressed there were moments of levity, moments of confusion, and moments are rising tension. The House and Senate Energy Committees met on more than a dozen bills, eight of which eventually died.

Representative Chris Lee (owned & operated by solar contractors) chairs the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP), and Senator Lorraine R. Inouye chairs the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy (TRE).

Lee and Inouye were each the lead negotiator on about a dozen bills, seven of which they faced-off against each other. Three of the seven passed as Conference Drafts, three died, and on the seventh bill, the House agreed to Senate Amendments (SA).

During the final hour of negotiations, all of the conference committees converged in Room 309 at the State Capitol.

Senator Inouye pushed hard to get SB 2535 passed. The bill would have eliminated county health and noise regulation dealing with geothermal exploration, development and operations. The bill would have established state pre-emption even if state agencies ignored the issues.

Representative Lee announced that the House Finance Committee had not funded the bill, and that Representatives were not in agreement on passing the bill.

Senator Inouye went ballistic, stood up, and announced that she was leaving, that all energy bills were off the table.

Senate Ways and Means Chair Jill Tokuda reminded Senator Inouye that some of the remaining bills were Senate bills. Senator Inouye sat back down.

Four important bills passed. They dealt with cooling school classrooms; creation of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility Fuel Tank Advisory Committee; conducting a feasibility study on interisland and intra-island ferry systems; and replacing the ethanol production tax credit with a biofuel production tax credit.

In addition to the geothermal pre-emption bill failing, there were some other noticeable failures. Governor David Ige proposed a partial fix to the way renewable energy penetration is measured. The bill to redefine the Renewable Portfolio Standards definition failed. Energy storage tax credits failed.

Ocean View is one of about 20 long-established residential communities built on agriculturally-zoned land as opposed to being designated as rural-zoned land.  A solar company proposed segmenting more than two dozen solar generation facilities within the community, thereby slipping around state regulation. A bill to correct this problem failed….

SA: Committee disagreements kill renewable energy bills

read … No Geothermal

Senators: Let Homeless Avoid Shelter on State Land

HNN: …The state Senate has deferred action on a bill that opponents say unfairly targets the homeless, and could also be aimed at protesters on state land, including the summit of Mauna Kea.

Senate Bill 2816 would make it illegal to trespass on state land when it's closed or restricted. All it would take is a sign, specifying that trespassing is prohibited during certain hours.

"The original framework of the bill was to address homelessness," said Marti Townsend, executive director of the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club. "I guess the administration felt they needed more authority to arrest people who were sleeping under highways and on other public lands."

"We are very concerned about this Senate Bill 2816, not only for the houseless people that we have here, but also for kia'i at are Mauna Kea," said Kaukaohu Wahilani of Waianae. He and a handful of Native Hawaiians and opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope went to the State Capitol to watch the vote….

That may have led to the senate action to defer the bill until Tuesday. Lawmakers aren't saying exactly why the bill was deferred, but TMT opponents plan to be at the capitol in much greater numbers when it's taken up again.

FH: MAUNA KEA TRESPASS BILL TO BE VOTED ON TUESDAY MORNING

read … Political Football

Proposal: Tear Down park Restrooms to Get Rid of Homeless Drug Addicts

KHON: …Kamamalu Park is rarely used for recreation, residents say, but is a popular hangout for drug users and prostitutes.

On Friday, one woman sits in the far corner of the park. Tents crowd the entrance to the restrooms.

The park is situated between two schools, and has recently drawn in influx of drug users.

"There is drug use, prostitution. And what happens in that park bathroom spills over into the entire community," said Randal Ikeda, executive director of the nearby YMCA-Nuuanu.

Ikeda is a member of the Kamamalu Park Community Group, and for the past year has been working with the city Department of Parks and Recreation on a plan to revitalize the space. 

The privately-funded project wouldn't start for at least a year.

In the meantime, Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga is ready to chip in $50,000 in taxpayer money to kickstart renovations. The money would primarily fund the teardown of the park's restrooms.

"If we're looking to relocate the restroom to a different area of the park, then to me the simplest route is to demolish it as quickly as possible so that it helps speed up all the other efforts we have to really improve and beatify the park," Fukunaga said.

Keoni Lopez has lived at the park since 2011….

read … Predators, not Victims

Lesbian Harassment: Video shows off-duty Maui cop yelling, pushing sign-wavers

HNN: …It was posted several months ago but was quickly taken down. It has since resurfaced.

Sources say the officer's name is Angela Kahoohanohano and she is a member of MPD's Crime Reduction Unit. The video shows her yelling and pushing sign holders at a First Friday event in Wailuku who were promoting their religious beliefs (huh?). The signs apparently offended Kahoohanohano (hmmmm).  (Then the female officer kisses her girlfriend.  Now we get it.)

“How's about f*** you?" the officer says in the video. "Kahoohanohano brah. Yeah, I'm a Kahoohanohano brah. And what?! And what brah?” she says.

She is seen pushing a man right in front of two police sergeants and a lieutenant. The demonstrators didn't know she was an officer herself….

read … VIDEO

Kauai: UK Guardian Spins More Utopian Anti-GMO Ignorance

KE: …The Guardian has posted a new bit of fantasy about Hawaii, this time efforts to secure land redistribution through agricultural utopianism.

As I've been saying all along, this “aloha aina” movement is a thinly disguised attempt to wrest control of land, and thus power, from those who currently have it.

Problem is, those orchestrating the movement are characterized by a striking ignorance of agriculture, no moral compass or both. And it's still unclear who is putting up the dough, and what they expect in return.

In the category of striking ignorance, we have Tiare Lawrence, a Maui fashion designer who fancies herself an “activist for farmers,” even though a piece she wrote for Civil Beat shows she knows nothing about ag.

Tiare's featured prominently in The Guardian piece, first whining about mono-cropping — uh, hello, what do you think the Hawaiians were doing with taro? — before casting out this laughable gem:

A lot of families want to return home and farm but they need water to do that, and HC&S still keep most of the water for themselves.

Does anyone actually believe that the folks who fled the high cost of living in the Islands for Las Vegas, Portland, Cali and points beyond are really waiting to give up their mainland homes, jobs and lives so they can come back and eke out a marginal existence farming in Hawaii? Dream on.

The article then quotes Rep. Kaniela Ing, who also disses mono-cropping, while simultaneously promoting hemp, which only has a prayer economically if it's grown on an “industrial” scale, and even then, it's questionable.

The article goes on to report that “Monsanto is thought to be casting an avaricious eye on the 36,000 acres about to come up for grabs.”

First, the land isn't “coming up for grabs.” It still belongs to A&B. And second, the seed companies are shrinking, not expanding, their footprint in the Islands. But hey, nothing works to rally the fearful and ignorant like the big Monsanto demon.

The Guardian piece is filled with the same sort of one-side fabrication and revisionism hat characterized Chris Pala's Guardian piece on how GMO agriculture had supposedly caused a “spike in birth defects” — a claim that even the biased Joint Fact-Finding report put to rest….

read … Musings: End Goal

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