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Friday, June 3, 2016
June 3, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:10 PM :: 3712 Views

NYT: Obama Admin Puts Hawaii AIDS Patients out on Street--as Punishment for Sit/Lie

HECO Customers Keep Paying On Unused $144 Million GEMS Fund

Maui: 55.8% Bogus Signatures on Ballot Petition to Seize Farms from Owners

DBEDT: Housing, Transportation, and Food Cost $46,700/year

Hanabusa: My Heart wasn’t Really in that Rail Thingy

CB: …Hanabusa told reporters at the state elections office in Honolulu that she wants to return to Washington, D.C., to fight for Native Hawaiians (Indian Tribe) and help define Hawaii’s role in the Asia-Pacific region, among other reasons.

“I do believe after going through so many different variations that I have done through my political career as well as my legal career, it really is the fact that I am a legislator at heart, and legislating is something that I understand, something that I feel that I can do better than most.” (Most what?  Most Hawaii Legislators?  Damned with faint praise.)

Hanabusa added that the decision to run was about having the right skills and encouragement from the right people, (machine politics).

She spoke for roughly 10 minutes as several dozen supporters — deliberately arranged staged to have both young and old faces standing behind her for the TV news background she wanted — listened and occasionally (fought off their boredom and) applauded.

Many in the room wore matching union T-shirts (as ordered by their unindicted union bosses), some screenprinted with “Carpenters In Action” and others with “Local 293,” representing Hawaii Sheet Metal Workers….

read … Hanabada

On Cue: Old Boy Media Starts Flacking for Hanabusa

Court Rejects Attorney General Appeal of Maui Hospital Privatization Stay

MN: …The transfer of Maui County public hospital operations to Kaiser Permanente's Maui Health Systems will no longer take place as scheduled on July 1, but the transition could be completed by the end of this summer, officials said Thursday.

The delayed transition comes even as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clarified on Thursday an injunction against work on the transfer of operations as it reviews an appeal by the United Public Workers, which represents some of the workers at Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai Community hospitals.

On May 17, the federal appeals court ordered a temporary halt to ongoing work on the changeover from the quasi-public Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Maui Region, to Maui Health Systems, a subsidiary of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

Acting on an emergency motion filed by state Attorney General Douglas Chin to lift or to modify the order, the appeals court said that the injunction would not stand in the way of "taking any steps to provide that the Maui Region has adequate physician coverage necessary to ensure patient safety." And, the order would not prohibit responding to any requests for clarification or additional information from any federal government agency regarding the HHSC's pending applications for a change of ownership from the state to Kaiser.

Also, the court moved up the date for the state and union to file a joint status report. Now, it is due June 15. Previously, the deadline was June 30, a day before the previously scheduled transition date….

What this is all about: Hospital Privatization: Vested Employees Score $366,500 each in Freebies

read … UPW HGEA Shakedown

Caldwell: Rail Ridership won’t be as Much as We Claimed

HNN: …"My biggest concern is ridership. As you shorten the route, eliminate stations, you get fewer riders which means you and I subsidize this system at a higher level," he said. "While short-term you may save money by not building more, you're talking about a system that's going to be around 100 years from now."

On Wednesday, the City Council approved the cap, which is $1 billion shy of the newest federal estimate for the project.

The cap was a compromise of sorts; a plan to stop the project at Middle Street was pulled by its author, City Council Chairman Ernie Martin.

Still, rail officials are now being forced to look at these alternatives after the Federal Transit Administration recently upped its cost estimates from $6.8 billion to more than $8 billion.

A study on those alternative routes will be presented to HART's board on Wednesday.

ILind: Light rail to the rescue?

read … Mayor: Shorter rail route could cost taxpayers more in long-run

Honolulu Charter Commission Sees ‘Urgent’ Need For Rail Changes

CB: The Honolulu Charter Commission is moving forward with ballot measures that could give the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board more power for now and ensure that one city agency — the Department of Transportation Services — handles the operations and maintenance of all public transit services when rail construction is finished….

A group of Charter Commission members, including Kevin Mulligan, Cheryl Soon, David Rae and Nathan Okubo, presented a report with rail-related recommendations for ballot measures Thursday at Honolulu Hale.

The commission adopted the report, which outlines the proposed measures and explains their justifications, and referred the proposals to a Style Committee, which helps determine how to phrase ballot measures. They will also be vetted during public meetings.

The report recommends that the city Transportation Department aggressively pursue revenue-generating opportunities such as partnering with businesses, selling or leasing city land near the rail route, and leveraging advertising, concessions and parking near stations to fund operations and maintenance….

SA: Voters on Oahu could get to decide who runs rail

read … Urgent

Real Traffic Solutions Don’t Cost $8.1B--H1 Zipper Lane to Double in August

SA: Starting sometime in August before the school year begins, the state Department of Transportation plans to widen the Zipper Lane area so that it’s big enough to fit two lanes of traffic.

Each hour, the extra morning eastbound lane could handle as many as 1,700 of the high-occupancy vehicles, motorcycles and electric vehicles permitted to use the Zipper service, according to Ed Sniffen, DOT Highways Division deputy director.

The DOT will also extend the Zipper’s service to 9 a.m., agency officials said. The morning commuter lane, which runs from Waipahu to Kalihi, currently is open from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Sniffen said the changes represent simpler steps his agency can take to curb congestion in a city that routinely ranks among the nation’s worst for traffic — even as the DOT works on more expensive, long-term projects to widen some stretches of H-1 and boost its capacity.

“In general, the strategy right now is to look at things that we can do now, at lower cost, and that can be implemented very quickly,” Sniffen said Wednesday as a public town hall on traffic wrapped up at Kapolei Hale. “We want to do something sooner rather than later and share with you some relief. This is one of the things we do.”

read  … Real Solutions

Anti-Telescope Lawyers Identify Another Excuse for Supreme Court to Use

SA: …Hawaii island BLNR member Christopher Yuen said in a filing posted Thursday that he would not remove himself from the hearing, as asked by the petitioners, due to bias because of some pro-Mauna Kea astronomy remarks he gave in an interview 18 years ago and for his support of last year’s Mauna Kea emergency rules.

Yuen said he would be able to evaluate the TMT project on its own merits….

read … Another Excuse

City prosecutor called back to testify in case against police chief

HNN: On Thursday morning, Kaneshiro walked through the front doors of the federal courthouse and briefly spoke to Hawaii News Now.

"According to the federal rules of criminal procedure and criminal case law, the existence of a grand jury investigation and witnesses that testify before the grand jury are supposed to be secret," he said. "Whatever I'm here for has to be secret."

Legal experts, though, say witnesses called to testify are allowed to discuss details.

"All the proceedings are supposed to be confidential except for witnesses," attorney William Harrison said. "Can't put a gag order on witnesses. There's no law that prohibits them from telling you what happened in the grand jury."

The federal grand jury will decide if Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, deputy Prosecutor Kathryn Kealoha, should face criminal charges for public corruption and civil rights violations.

The case all stems from a financial dispute the Kealohas had with family members.

Also seen walking into the federal courthouse on Thursday were several other police officers and former police officers….

read … Called Back

Police union endorses Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell as Reward for Supporting Kealoha

HNN: "His passion and his commitment to the police officers, the men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day and last but not least, definitely, the families of those police officers who make the ultimate sacrifice," SHOPO president, Tenari Maafala said….

read … Crooked

Star-Adv: We Think Ping Pong is Good Replacement for Pro Bowl

SA: …The HTA said its sporting events in 2016 are projected to have an economic impact of $144 million, so it would be worthwhile to explore what another $5 million could generate in return on investment.

Given the unique opportunity, using the money for items such as sponsorships of community festivals and events seems almost mundane, not forward-thinking.

Clearly, any sports marketing efforts would have to dovetail with work to upgrade and maintain facilities such as Aloha Stadium and sports complexes such as the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park, so that Hawaii can better compete for major sports tournaments — youth and otherwise.

Serious consideration also must be made to retrofit the Hawaii Convention Center to accommodate sports such as basketball, volleyball and ping pong.

read … Serious

Cancer Center Donors Demand Incumbent UH Admin Get its Act together

SA: The expected hiring of renowned colon cancer expert Dr. Randall Holcombe to lead the University of Hawaii Cancer Center could result in a substantial donation from local philanthropists that would infuse the cash-strapped research center with much-needed capital.

At a UH Board of Regents meeting Thursday, where the board later approved Holcombe’s appointment, Virginia Weinman said she and her husband, Barry, longtime supporters of the university, want to donate $20 million to the Cancer Center.

“But only on the condition that the (National Cancer Institute) designation is not in jeopardy, which it will be if we don’t have a new director appointed immediately,” she told the regents in public testimony.

“That’s fairly stunning, Mrs. Weinman. Thank you,” regents Chairman Randy Moore said, eliciting applause from the audience. “For those of you not familiar with the Weinman family philanthropy, their name is at the top of the list outside on the wall.” ….

read … Demand

Twelve years to Get Permits to Build Playground in Niu Valley

HNN: …It took a little over a year to build the Empire State building. Four years to construct the Golden Gate Bridge and a decade to dig the Panama Canal.

The new playground in Niu Valley? Twelve years.

"The community is about to explode enjoy over a 12-year struggle," said Peter Kay, vice president Nui Valley Community Association

Up until now, Niu Valley was the only neighborhood on Oahu that didn't have a playground. On Saturday, the community association will hold a grand opening to mark the end of their 12-year battle to see a playground built.

The obstacles came from the city and state.

"We were told there wasn't enough money. Fine. We'll got the money to buy the equipment," Kay said. "We spent years getting sponsors and everything to raise the money. Then they said there's no plans so we had architects donate their time to draft up 200-page plans. Then they said there's no land. Well we had a neighbor do a survey so we went one thing after the other to kind of overcome." …

the community raised enough money to purchase adult exercise equipment. But because there wasn't enough funding to set it up, it's been donated to another neighborhood…

read … After 12 years, Niu Valley finally has its playground

Homeless Medical Programs Measures Reduction in Emergency Room Visits

SA: …H.O.M.E. is headquartered at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine; its service sites are linked by the project’s mobile clinic, a van parked near the campus. On the website (www.hawaiihomeproject.org), it is credited with more than 4,500 patient visits, with service to 1,800 individuals.

Funding also comes from everything from bake sales and wine-tasting events to a vending machine downstairs from her JABSOM office.

Conventional granting agencies expect outcome data, and it’s hard to track health results among such a dispersed and mobile population.

“One of the nice statistics that we got a couple years ago was from the City and County, EMS (Emergency Medical Services),” she said. “They were able to look at the call rates and the pickups for the areas we were servicing, and they were able to show that they had gone down.

“That was helpful for us, because that’s one of our goals, to decrease ER visits and decrease admission to the hospital.”

read … Decrease Expenses

Fishermen to protest against recent restrictions on fishing grounds

WHT: A group will be out near Queen Kaahumanu Highway on Saturday morning, likely holding signs that show their displeasure with a precedent-setting ban on fishing at Kaupulehu Bay.

Fishermen who say they were disappointed and shocked by the Board of Land and Natural Resource’s decision last week to approve the “Try Wait” initiative will gather near the entrance to the bay to protest the creation of the reserve in hopes that Gov. David Ige will think twice about signing off on it.

“No fishing means no food for people. It’s that simple,” said Makani Christensen, executive director of the Hunting, Farming and Fishing Association and organizer of the rally.

After years of community input, the Land Board decided to “rest” the reef along 3.6 miles of shoreline near the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for 10 years so stocks can recover while a long-range management plan is crafted based on traditional Hawaiian subsistence practices.

Roughly two thirds out of nearly 500 pieces of oral and written testimony approved the kapu, while a third opposed it.

Some fishermen worry the ban will never be lifted, and more waters will be put off limits.

“I got a lot of calls from people who were just in shock that it happened,” Christensen said. “Responsible oceanusers are losing fishing grounds.”

While aquarium fishing is banned along a third of the West Hawaii coastline, this is the island’s first — and the state’s second — marine reserve that prohibits the taking of fish off the reef. Fishing is allowed in waters deeper than 120 feet and the reserve extends out to 600 feet of depth.

read … Protest

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