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Thursday, June 9, 2016
June 9, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 4351 Views

Djou Reacts to HART Board Announcing More Cost Increases for Rail

Hawaii: Nineteen Elected without a Vote—Another 24 Will Never Face General Electorate

Robin Danner’s Kumu Camp Declared Fire Hazard

OHA to Throw Homeless off 511 acres in Wahiawa

Survey: More High-Risk Behavior from Hawaii Public High School Youth

HART Has Meeting, ‘Finds’ $200M

HNN: …Hart officials are now saying the rail project may not be completed until April 2024 and will cost just under $8 billion.

The figures are slightly different from estimates released by the Federal Transit Authority last month. But the HART board learned that Honolulu will not lose its federal funding even with the cost overruns and money budgeted to date.

"What they said to us is this: How close can you get to the original commitment with the money you have, and if we can get close enough, then they have indicated to us, not only would they but they will also leave the $1.55 billion commitment on the table," said HART Executive director Dan Grabauskas.

But some board members still have concerns about the changing numbers.

"Every step along the way we have missed the numbers. People ask us all the time, how does that happen? I think the board should hear it before the public does? How is it that we are always chasing numbers?" said City Transportation Director Mike Formby….

read … Playing Games With the Numbers in order to push another tax hike

Looking To Squelch The Voices Of The Neighborhoods

CB: The Honolulu Charter Commission commission is poised to vote on two proposed amendments to the city charter described as enhancing public participation.

But that bit of political doublespeak conceals the reality that the proposals would dismantle important structures providing opportunities for active participation in city government.

After turning down several proposals for strengthening access to public records (concluding there’s no need to “facilitate greater access to public records”) and others calling for improving Honolulu’s system of neighborhood boards, a commission subcommittee made just two recommendations, which are both scheduled to be decided by the commission at its meeting Thursday.

One proposal would “sunset” Honolulu’s system of neighborhood boards — get rid of them all, in plain English — and substitute the use of “current communication technologies” to deliver information to community members and collect feedback on proposed developments.

A second proposal would require ongoing reviews and evaluations of all city boards and commissions not required by state or federal law, with the goal of eliminating those not “required and necessary to support the core services of the city.”

Exactly how and why the four-member subcommittee screened out other conflicting proposals and instead ended up supporting these two isn’t known because, ironically, the “open government” discussions were conducted behind closed doors.

The commission took advantage of a provision of the state’s sunshine law that allows the appointment of a subcommittee, or permitted interaction group, made up of less than a quorum of members to “investigate a matter relating to the official business of their board.” These subcommittees do not have to comply with the open meeting requirements of the sunshine law….

SA: Neighborhood Boards serve useful purpose

read … Looking To Squelch The Voices Of The Neighborhoods

Board Hunkers Down after Arrests at Crooked Charter School at Heart of Drive for Fake Indian Tribe

SA: …The governing board of the Myron B. Thompson Academy public charter school is scheduled to meet today for the first time since the state attorney general filed criminal charges last month against the school’s principal and elementary school vice principal.

There is no mention of the charges against Principal Diana Oshiro and her sister, elementary administrator Kurumi Kaapana-Aki, on the meeting agenda. The agenda does include, however, a call for the board to meet behind closed doors in executive session, when personnel matters are usually discussed.

Board Chairman Myron G. Thompson, son of the school’s namesake, did not respond to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s questions regarding whether the board will discuss the charges at the 5 p.m. meeting at the school, which is located at 1040 Richards St.

Oshiro and Kaapana-Aki are charged with misdemeanor tampering with a government record. Kaapana-Aki is also charged with felony theft.

The theft charge accuses Kaapana-Aki of collecting her vice principal pay on days when she was working her other full-time job as a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant. The record tampering charges accuse Oshiro and Kaapana-Aki of changing school attendance records to conceal the theft.

On Monday, the school’s governing board sent a letter to its constituents calling the charges against Oshiro and Kaapana-Aki unwarranted attacks on the school and the performance of its students. The letter says the board members stand by Oshiro and Kaapana-Aki….

Related: Two Arrests: Corruption Bust Strikes at Heart of Drive for Fake Indian Tribe

read … School meeting agenda doesn’t mention criminal charges

Report: One-fourth of Big Island’s K-12 students chronically absent

HTH: …Students on the Big Island missed more school in a single academic year than most of their peers around the state and country, data from the U.S. Department of Education shows.

The figures, requested as part of an Associated Press analysis, show about one-fourth of the island’s K-12 students were chronically absent, defined as missing at least 15 days of school, during the 2013-14 school year. That number was 19.7 percent statewide and 13 percent nationally.

Na Wai Ola public charter school in Mountain View had the highest chronic absenteeism rate in the state. Ninety-nine students — or 79.2 percent — of the 125 enrolled that year missed at least 15 days of school, statistics show.

West Hawaii Explorations Academy and Ernest Bowen De Silva Elementary School featured among the lowest — 14 of Exploration’s 223 students were chronically absent, or 6.3 percent. At De Silva, that number was 8 percent — accounting for 35 of its 439 students.

Nearly 20 percent of Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area’s roughly 8,840 students missed at least 15 days. In the Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area, that number was about 32 percent of more than 7,100 students and in Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area, nearly 25 percent of about 11,500 students….

At Keaau Elementary School, where the chronic absenteeism rate was 22.7 percent, administrators send parents a sequence of letters once absences start to accumulate, Principal Shane Saiki said. As a last resort, the school will even file a neglect petition with Family Court, he said….

SA: Transgender rules add to schools’ woes

read … Report: One-fourth of Big Island’s K-12 students chronically absent

Honolulu police officer wanted for sex assault arrested after manhunt (Yes.  These are two separate cases in one day.)

HNN: …Officer Jessie Laconsay was arrested for first-degree sex assault about 1 p.m. in Mokuleia, the Honolulu Police Department said in a brief statement.

He was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.

An all points bulletin was issued early Wednesday morning for Laconsay, an officer assigned to the Windward Oahu district. 

Sources say that Laconsay was caught sexually assaulting the girl in Ewa Beach late Tuesday.

When he was confronted, he allegedly took off in his police-subsidized vehicle and was driving erratically, even driving into oncoming traffic. The white Dodge Charger he was believed to be driving was equipped with a police radio, lights and a siren….

SA: HPD officer sought in sex assault of teen girl is arrested

read … Another Officer Arrested

State deputy sheriff arrested for sex assault (Yes.  It’s a separate case.)

KHON: A state deputy sheriff was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sex assault.

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety confirmed the arrest, and said it plans to conduct an internal investigation in addition to the police investigation.

The arrest comes just hours after a Honolulu police officer was arrested in a separate sex assault case….

SA: Police arrest deputy sheriff downtown in sexual assault case

read … State deputy sheriff arrested for sex assault

Lawsuit: Former HPD Detective Used Police Contacts to ‘SWAT’ HPU Professor

HNN: …In a lawsuit filed this week, former HPU professor Gordon Knowles says the false allegations against him affected his career and his reputation.

UPDATE: Read a complete debunk of this story >>> HERE)

One of the women he's suing is former police officer Sheryl Sunia, a longtime former HPD detective who helped investigate a number of high-profile workplace shootings, including the Xerox shooting in 1999.

Also named in the suit are professor Diane Niles-Hansen, the city and the Honolulu Police Department.

Knowles said Sunia and Niles-Hansen weren't just trying to sully his name. They were trying to get him killed.

In the suit, Knowles alleges that the professors conspired to create a situation where police officers might consider him dangerous and draw their weapons.

"They were trying to orchestrate an event where I would be shot and killed by police by informing police I was carrying a weapon," Knowles said. "(They alleged) I had an arsenal of deadly weapons in my apartment and I was planning an active shooter event."

Knowles, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, had taught sociology at Hawaii Pacific University for 17 years.

He said he never had a problem until a new administration took over. That's when he says human resources personnel started questioning him about having a second job at University of Hawaii.

Within a few months, he was fired. 

But Knowles says that was just the beginning.

Last September, he said, he had a run-in with police outside his home near Fort Street Mall. Knowles said the officer believed he was armed and planned a shooting at HPU.

"The officer put his hand on his weapon and said you need to sit down immediately," Knowles said. "And I sat down and he goes, 'Where's the weapon?'"

Knowles wasn't carrying any weapons, but was arrested anyway.Then, the day after his release, a team of officers came to his home in search of weapons. They found his only gun, he said, which was legally registered. 

Knowles said he later found out his two former colleagues had filed restraining orders against him. He alleges Sunia also looked up his gun records, which are supposed to be secret.

Myles Breiner, Knowles' attorney, said Sunia used her former position at HPD to "contact someone within the records division, who was ultimately suspended for violating Mr. Knowles rights to privacy."

read … That’s Three Police Misconduct Cases in One Day’s News

Star-Adv: Anti-Pesticide Histrionics Not Worth the Hassle

SA: …A fact-finding mission to determine whether pesticides used by large agricultural operations on the west side of Kauai cause harm to humans and the environment found no smoking gun. So it would be difficult to justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars to implement all 28 of the panel’s policy recommendations.

Yes, further study and pertinent data collection are needed. But the joint fact-finding group found there is not enough evidence to show that pesticides sprayed on fields by Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, BASF Plant Science and Kauai Coffee make people sick or pose a significant risk to the environment.

The final report by the Kauai Joint Fact-Finding (JFF) group, released last week, has already ruffled the feathers of state regu- lators and experts in the fields of health and environmental science, who rightly said there was no basis for some of the extreme measures being pushed by JFF.

Many of the group’s recommendations — from implementing long-term soil and dust sampling to revising federal pesticide standards — would cost millions of dollars each year and likely aren’t useful, the regulators and experts said. Further, it would be irresponsible for the state to implement overbearing regulations simply because the group surmised that pesticides are causing undue harm….

read … Don’t overreact to pesticide study

Layoffs Caused by Maui Anti-Ag Activists Hit HC&S Workers hard

MN: …More than 350 of what had been the plantation's 675 employees will be needed through the end of the year, Volner said. All employees, regardless of where they are in the transition process, have access to four transition coordinators who have met one-on-one with more than 200 employees in more than 900 meetings, Volner said. The coordinators will provide assistance to the employees well into 2017 as well as coordinate with the Mayor's Sugar Operators Support Task Force and its network of resources.

On Saturday, there was a job fair for the HC&S workers at the University of Hawaii Maui College campus.

Only about 15 employees are expected to remain when the last harvest ends late in the year….

read … Layoffs

Hawaii Dairy Farms' 699-cow Kauai project could be operational by 2018—Unless Enviros Choose to Block it in Court

PBN: Hawaii Dairy Farms, a proposed 699-cow operation on the island of Kauai being funded by eBay billionaire founder Pierre Omidyar’s Honolulu investment firm Ulupono Initiative, could be operational by 2018.

The project’s draft environmental impact statement, which was recently released, said the total development costs of the South Shore dairy farm could total $9.5 million to $11.5 million. Construction could start in 2017….

The farm, which would be developed on former sugar cane lands near the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu, has come under criticism by some, including resort owner Kawailoa Development, which filed a lawsuit against Hawaii Dairy Farms in November 2014. Friends of Mahaulepu, a Kauai community group, filed an intent to sue Hawaii Dairy Farms in March 2015.

The group, which aims to protect the Mahaulepu Valley on Kauai’s South Shore where the project is being planned, said Hawaii Dairy Farms is “currently operating in violation of the federal Clean Water Act and threatens the survival of the precious and ecologically rich home (did they just say rich?) of many threatened and endangered species luxury resorts.” ….

Reality: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Unless the Tourism Industry and Its Pawn, The Surfrider Foundation, Find a Way to Block it

State, City Use Homeless as Pawns

HNN: …Scott Morishige, the state's homeless czar, said the state has offered the city "right of entry" agreements, which would allow city crews to move homeless living on state land.

(Translation: The State is begging the city to clean up more state property.)

Potential areas of future enforcement include an encampment fronting Lowe's on Nimitz Highway, and an encampment fronting the new PBS building near Sand Island Access Road. (Quid)

Last month, the state granted the city enforcement access rights to both sides of Ala Moana Boulevard fronting Kakaako Gateway Park. 

Meanwhile, city officials said they're hoping the state will come through with additional resources and manpower…. (Quo)

read … Quid Pro Quo

Homosexuals Marry Each Other, Adopt Mexican Boys

CB: …To raise Mexican-American children in the United States today is to face down the daily, dehumanizing belittlement that dominant U.S. culture so casually and thoughtlessly throws their way — through television and movies, news media and a social dialogue in which Mexican slurs are shockingly common.

(If you are looking for a touching and personal slice of home life, this ain’t gonna be it.  The whole piece is like this--one broad generalization after another.)

Hawaii may be the Aloha State, but it’s not immune. My sons (he never does say how many) have come home as often from school here as when we lived on the mainland reporting anti-Mexican characterizations and slurs repeated by other students — often without animus or even ill intent, but then, children often say things they’ve heard from adults without fully understanding nuance, context or impact (he also makes no reference to ‘nuanced’ differences in the way the various 2-3-4? boys react to the things they hear).

…Because one of their adopted (adoptive?) dads is a journalist, they live in a home where the news is part of the family conversation. So they watch and hear Trump as he makes the same appallingly racist remarks he does on any given day, and they ask, time and again, Why would anyone vote for him, Papa? Why does he say those things? (And yes, those two questions—not even in quotations--are as close to a human interest story as this gets)….

(Are you allowed to wonder why?)

read … Gay Marriage

Hawaii’s New Ice Age: Meth Grrrls

CB: …“Once I graduated, unfortunately, I met somebody,” Buffy said. “I had met a man who moved from the mainland to Hawaii on the day of my graduation. He had no place to live, so I invited him to come home. My mom took one look at him and said ‘No.’ So I moved out with him and we were living on the streets, at Kapiolani Park.

“We would smoke in our van. At first it was great and then it got violent. Quick. We would have yelling matches across the park, just yelling at each other. Eventually it became physical. He’d hit me; I’d hit him back. He’d slam me against the wall; I’d slam him on the ground. It was a back and forth thing. It got to the point where I couldn’t even recognized myself in the mirror anymore. Then it got even worse. The physical fights became really, really bad….

read … Hawaii’s New Ice Age: Meth Grrrls

9th Cir Court: No right to carry concealed weapons in public

AP: The 9th Circuit covers nine Western states, but California and Hawaii are the only ones in which the ruling will have any practical effect. The others do not require permit applicants to cite a "good cause." Anyone in those states with a clean record and no history of mental illness can get a permit…..

read … No Right

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