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Sunday, June 19, 2016
June 19, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 4339 Views

Rail: Easy Ways to Save Millions without Cutting Line Short

Mayor Becomes Incoherent

Pine: Before we rush to decide on a rail route, shouldn't we get numbers first?

Charter School Corruption Mirrors State Government

Fatherhood, Poverty, and the “Post-Marriage Society”

Polls Show Djou Beating Caldwell

Borreca: “A month ago, even with an $8.1 billion price tag on rail, Mayor Caldwell vowed to build rail to Ala Moana. Why did he flip flop …to stop rail at Middle Street? Because his and other polls reveal he is trailing Charles Djou badly, said Ben Cayetano, the former governor and unsuccessful candidate for mayor in 2012.

City Hall has been buzzing with rumors of several political polls showing Caldwell losing his mayor’s race re-election to former U.S. Rep. and Councilman Djou. If that is conjecture, there is also a publicly released Hawaii Poll from January showing Caldwell losing to former GOP Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona 43 percent to 38 percent, with Martin getting just 11 percent.

So Caldwell isn’t going into this race with sails filled with a strong wind.

Despite that, before he blinked at the rail overages and asked to pull the plug, Caldwell looked like a solid bet to return, because Djou had little campaign money and was just last week assembling a campaign staff. Djou, however, was able to immediately get support from a trio of well-known Democrats who are also rail critics: former federal judge, councilman and Office of Hawaii Affairs trustee Walter Heen, who will be Djou campaign chairman, plus Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and Cayetano.

While the mayor’s race is important, Honolulu’s more important question is: What do you do with a 15-mile hideously costly rail line that doesn’t go where it needs to go? Rail may be a turkey, but it is proving to be both an expensive and uneaten turkey….

Honolulu Star-Advertiser transportation reporter Marcel Honore reported last week that HART has already spent $96.6 million in design work and property acquisition for those four final and mostly-likely-never-to-be-built rail miles.

“This screws it up royally,” said Speaker of the House Joe Souki, one of the Legislature’s biggest rail supporters.

“For both mayor and Council, it shows that both don’t have the bravado to be a leader,” said Souki, who offered this advice: “Find the money, the money is there.”

read … Mayor’s race is important, but rail transit is more so

Caldwell’s Absurd Belly Flop—Leave Rail to the Next Mayor

Cataluna: All across America, kids on summer break are prancing up to the edge of swimming pools, striking mighty poses, leaping fingers-first into the chlorinated water and landing with ignominious belly flops.

And then, what inevitably follows is the diver’s pronouncement upon surfacing: “I MEANT to do that!”

We learn the trick early: When the goal is not reached, move the goal. That’s Rule No. 1 in the handbook called Saving Face.

Of course, it’s cute when kids do it. There will be other attempts, more chances for them to dive like sleek birds into cool waters over the long summer days.

But that is not the case for Honolulu’s absurd attempt at building a rail transit system. (It’s not the rail that’s absurd. It’s the way it’s being handled, all haphazard, figure-it-out-as-we-go and eh-close-enough.)

Now that Mayor Kirk Caldwell has done an abrupt turnaround and announced that contrary to everything he’s said before it’s actually best that the rail end at Middle Street rather than stretch to Ala Moana Center, it’s clear that he is in full Face Saving mode — otherwise known as Re-Election Campaign Saving Mode….

Caldwell said commuters would have to wait for the section of rail from Middle Street to Ala Moana. “That’s for another day.” The translation for that statement may very well be, “That’s for another mayor.”

read … Belly Flop

“Do something about wasteful spending on a Grand Scale”

Shapiro: …a couple of undaunted first-timers on this year’s ballot stand out in their game efforts to take on established candidates against long odds.

In the 1st Congressional District, Shirlene Ostrov, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 23 years of active service, is the only Republican running against a Democratic field led by Colleen Hanabusa for the seat being vacated for health reasons by U.S. Rep. Mark Takai.

Hanabusa is the heavy favorite, having represented the district for two terms before stepping down in 2014 to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate; before that, she was the first female president of the state Senate.

But Ostrov, a former Air Force legislative liaison to Congress, has a dream that her firsthand expertise can help guide the U.S. military and economic pivot to Asia and the battle to control federal spending.

“I witnessed wasteful spending on a grand scale and hoped that one day I could be in a position to make a difference,” she said.

Former U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki, the only Republican since statehood to win a Hawaii U.S. House seat on more than an interim basis, sees her as the future of the struggling local GOP.

Saiki believes Ostrov has the qualities to overcome the stigma of running here as a Republican — articulate, locally born and raised in a Filipino Catholic family, a former squadron commander, two master’s degrees, a successful business and a history of mentoring women.

“She’s dynamic, refreshingly new to our tired political scene,” Saiki said….

Related: Meet Col Shirlene Ostrov, Republican Candidate for Congressional District 1

read … Ostrov for House

Plaintiffs: Block OHA From Funneling Millions to Create Fake Indian Tribe

SA: Plaintiffs argue that the lawsuit isn’t moot because there’s a fundraising effort underway for a ratification vote on a proposed constitution drafted at the gathering. They want the court to order the Office of Hawaiian Affairs not to fund any future vote….

The Office of Hawaiians Affairs must be prevented “from funneling millions of government dollars to another supposedly private entity under its de facto control for the purpose of holding a ratification vote using the race-based roll,” the plaintiffs say in a court brief last month….

Related: Fake Indian Tribe: OHA Legal Shell Game Copied from Southern Segregationists

read … Suit to halt Hawaiian vote still open, group says

DoE—Because we Just Couldn’t Get the Job Done, Schools Will be Hot Again this August

SA: (skip multiple paragraphs of excuses) … The front work done to ensure qualified contractors did not pay off as we had planned. In fact, we had far fewer applicants than we hoped for. Earlier this month, we reopened the qualification process and expanded our pool of available contractors. Unfortunately, not enough contractors are answering the call to do the work.

We started to put the projects out to bid on the same day, May 5, that the governor signed Act 47 appropriating the funds for cooling and energy efficiency. Unfortunately, our concerns about the availability of contractors due to the current high level of activity in the construction industry, was borne out…. (skip more paragraphs of excuses)

The cost of the air conditioning equipment is roughly in line with what we expected but the cost of labor is extremely high. For example, one bid had the overall cost of PV-powered air conditioning per classroom at $135,000, when preliminary estimates from the industry were approximately $20,000….

…we expect a delay in reaching the target of cooling 1,000 classrooms by Dec. 31, 2016….

KITV: They will be reopening bids in July 

CB: Another Hot School Year Looms As Air Conditioning Initiative Delayed

read … Construction boom forcing delay in cooling public school classrooms

SB2954:  Rifle Assn Will Sue State if Governor Signs Gun Owner Database Bill

KHON: …The deadline looms for a controversial bill, known as 'Rap Back', that would enter Hawaii's legal gun owners into a Federal Bureau of Investigation database.

With Governor David Ige currently holding the fate of SB 2954 on his desk, he has until June 27 to decide on whether to add it to his veto list.

But many guns rights advocates believe that if Governor Ige signs the bill into law, or leaves it unsigned still making it a law, their could be significant legal ramifications.

"Hawai'i is the first state to try this. And we believe there are certain legal implications and, like I said, we believe it violates the FOPA. The Firearms Owners Protection Act," said Bill Richter, Board Member of the Hawai'i Rifle Association, who have been an outspoken opponent of the measure.

Specifically, Richter referred to the section of the 1986 FOPA concerning the Federal Government and a firearms database.

"It states that the Federal Government will not be able to maintain a database on gun owners, and that's exactly what this is," Richter said. "It's a biometric database maintained by the FBI. So every time a gun owner goes in to register a new gun after purchase, they'll be entered into this 'Rap Back' system....and we're just kind of waiting to see what the Attorney General says.""

Richter added that the Hawai'i Rifle Association has been considering legal action against the State if the law is passed….

HNN: Oahu Shooting Sports Fair draws hundreds in wake of Orlando shooting

read … Rap Back

HGEA Poster Boy Busted by Ethics Commission

HTH: In 2014, Francis “Kepa” Kekaualua was a literal poster boy for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union representing him as a superintendent for the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“We work. Above and beyond,” touted signs lauding Kekaualua….

That was before Kekaualua was fined $3,000 by the state Ethics Commission for alleged personal use of state staff and equipment….

Construction and maintenance superintendent for the entire island who works out of the Hilo baseyard, Kekaualua is currently under a “management investigation” by the DOT, a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Kekaualua, a former member of HGEA’s state board, has also stepped down as campaign manager for a Hilo County Council candidate, who is an HGEA union agent.

“Kepa Kekaualua was originally my campaign manager,” Council District 3 candidate Moana Kelii said in an email response Friday to telephone messages. “However, in the midst of the issues he is facing, he has voluntarily stepped aside. I am in the process of selecting a new campaign manager.”

Kelii said she has also removed her HGEA telephone number from state campaign registration forms after West Hawaii Today questioned her and the union about whether it was proper. An HGEA spokeswoman directed questions to Kelii.

Kekaualua was not put on paid or unpaid leave from his approximately $60,000 annual job while the investigation continues, DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said in a an email….

PDF: Supervisor’s Use of State Vehicles and Subordinate State Employees for Personal Purposes

read … Busted

Con Artists Suffer as Consumers Get Wise to Solar Leasing Scam

SA: Betting on the fixed 20-year rate against the electrical utility bill is a risk because the utility bill could decline. That’s what has happened with the drop in oil prices over the past two years. A typical bill from the state’s largest electrical utility has dropped nearly 30 percent since 2014.

Also, last year the state ended a program that credited homeowners with solar-energy systems the full retail price for the excess power their systems sent back to the grid. That credit was cut in half and could be further reduced in two years.

Many solar-energy companies in Hawaii have seen interest in leased solar-energy systems wane.

SolarCity, a San Mateo, ­Calif.-based solar-energy company, has stopped selling leases in Hawaii….

read … Interest in solar leases falls

Sand Island Shelter Gets 140 Homeless off Streets

HNN: …Hale Mauliola is currently housing about 80 people. IHS housed over 60 people into permanent housing since they opened last November.

While most shelters only accept single individuals, this facility accepts couples and even pets.

"I think our project is really letting our community know that we're constantly trying to think of innovative ways to serve our homeless people,” Mitchell said. “We want people to come off the street and really accommodate them,"

read … Off The Streets

Wahiawa Volunteers Give Homeless Free Stuff, Even Pick up Their Trash

KHON: …Volunteers, many of them children, made sandwiches at the Dots Wahiawa restaurant kitchen.

Besides food, donated items included personal hygiene products, mini first aid kits, clothing, shoes and dog food.

Participants also came from the ECOS Project, Wahiawa Baptist, Oahu Church of Christ, Wahiawa Community Church, the U.S. Army/Schofield Barracks, the Aloha Medical Mission, New Hope Central, Inspire Church, Project Vision and PHOCUSED.

Next week, approximately a hundred volunteers are expected to meet at the Karston Thot Bridge starting at 8 a.m. to remove garbage and clean up the lake. Their goal is not to displace people living there, but to make sure they know about social services available to them.

The Wahiawa Community Based Development Organization is sponsoring the clean up. Matson Hawaii, through its Ka Ipu Aina program, is providing a container and will haul away the collected trash.

read … Wahiawa volunteers spend time helping homeless

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