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Monday, June 20, 2016
June 20, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:30 PM :: 3301 Views

Trustee: OHA Wasted $33M on Akaka Bill

Star-Adv Hits Caldwell ‘Abject Failure of Leadership’

CD1: U.S. Air Force colonel Shirlene Ostrov is “a candidate who can win.”

Video: How Free is Hawaii Economically?

Big Oil, OHA, and Brian Schatz team up to Give Hawaii Fishermen the Shaft

Maui: Half of Overtime Goes to 376 Police Officers

Meet the Environmental Protest Industry

Rep Thielen to DEA: Legalize Hemp

Rail Recovery Plan? Feds Explain How Rail Systems Blow Budget

Study: Hawaii Ex-Con Recidivism 48.9%

Hawaii Environmental Court Shuts Down Cane Plantation with First Case—Chief Justice Cites ‘Very Successful’ First Year

CB: …Hawaii District Judge Barbara Richardson said that from July 2015 to May 2016, more than 1,600 cases have been filed in the state’s Environmental Court, including 804 alleged violations of camping rules in state parks. Another 457 were for boating and ocean recreation violations, 206 involved aquatic resources and 152 were related to forestry and wildlife.

Common violations include overfishing ulua and papio, catching undersized octopuses and squid and entering prohibited state park areas, Richardson said.

Ten criminal cases have been filed so far at the Circuit Court level, according to Hawaii First Circuit Judge Jeannette Castagnetti. Maui has seen the most criminal cases, many of which involved hunting violations.

The first case filed in Environmental Court (actually on its first day of existence) was Stop Cane Burning v. Hawaii Department of Health and Alexander & Baldwin, which addressed the longstanding, contested Maui sugar cane burning practice.

The case was settled and until Alexander & Baldwin ceases burning in December, the company agreed to place limitations on the times and locations for burning.

Denise Antolini, the associate dean of UH’s Richardson Law School, said there’s no way to quantify the Environmental Court’s impact yet, but she’s been analyzing data of its cases in partnership with the state Judiciary. Within a couple months, Antolini hopes to have a better idea of just how things have changed over the past year….

read … Environmental

Shortened rail route could pose $20B challenge to housing market

HNN: There are more than $20 billion worth of transit oriented developments planned along the rail line from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.  But experts said that stopping it at Middle Street is going to be devastating for some of these projects. 

"It's a game changer between Middle Street particularly as you go through Kalihi and then on the other side Kakaako," said real estate expert Ricky Cassiday. "It's not quite as as bad as A&B sugar going out of commission. This won't leave a hole of that magnitude. But it does require some changes and it requires a reorientation of the bigger goals."

Cassiday said future affordable housing and work-force housing will be the most affected.  Entry level housing in Kakaako that's already broken ground will likely be completed.  But after that, most of the housing built there will be luxury condos. …

While stopping the rail at Middle Street will hurt housing development, it's a huge relief for many small businesses along the rail line.  Real estate expert Stephany Sofos noted how rail construction along Kamehameha Highway in Aiea and Pearl City hurt customer traffic to many small businesses in those areas.  Many of those Kalihi small businesses now hope the Middle Street station is a final stop for the rail line, and not just a pause in construction.

Related:  Rail: Easy Ways to Save Millions without Cutting Line Short

read … Caldwell Fail

Honolulu’s Runaway Rail Project And The Fallacy of Sunk Costs

CB: …“in all too many cases, huge infrastructure projects involve: 1) calamitous cost overruns; 2) overlooked and ignored environmental problems; 3) exaggerated development effects; 4) misleading cost-benefit calculations; and 5) the violation of established practices of good governance, transparency, and public participation in decision-making.”

Honolulu’s rail project is now massively over budget. The most recent cost projection of $8 billion is $1 billion more than the estimate of just one month earlier. If rail is not stopped or significantly curtailed, its final cost will almost certainly exceed $10 billion. Honolulu rail is well on its way to becoming, per capita, the most expensive transit project in American history.…

Honolulu’s runaway rail project will also result in tax increases and commitments that will strangle other public investments in this state’s crumbling infrastructure. Consider higher education. The University of Hawaii Manoa is surely one of the most dilapidated campuses in America. One-billion dollars is twice as much as UH’s entire 10-campus system needs to fix everything on its long list of backlogged maintenance and repairs. 

Many observers wonder why the real cost of rail has been repeatedly underestimated – and by huge amounts. The answer is that understating costs, fudging facts, and obfuscating inconvenient truths has served the political and private interests that are benefiting most from rail.…

CB: Honolulu Ethics Director: Losing Him When We Need Him Most

PBN: Hawaii leads nation in percentage of new construction jobs

read … Sunk

Will Kauai Voters Excrete Hooser from Council?

KE: Councilman Gary Hooser is running scared.

Though who can blame him? Especially now that Derek Kawakami has entered the race, thus ensuring one incumbent will not get re-elected. 

And that's awfully worrisome for da Hoos, considering how he barely squeaked into last place in the last election….

read … Musings: Running Dry

Hawaii’s Sheriff Division More Secretive than Secret Service—But Civil Beat Would Rather Attack Keoki Kerr

CB: (Best Comment) Gee, Brett, this column seems much more like an attack on Keoki Kerr than an attack on the State’s unofficial Obfuscation policy. Kerr DID identify the officials..unless there is more than one “first Deputy Sheriff–the Number 2 person”, more than one deputy Sheriff in charge of the Gov’s detail, and more than one Deputy overseeing the Capitol detail. He didn’t supply the names. But we know who he was talking about. As a “journalism professor” you certainly should know that any good reporter could follow up on what Kerr began. The really sad thing is that while you raise some very good points about the “circle the wagons” bogus security concerns which can hide law enforcement malfeasance, your argument is lost in the personal attack on Kerr. Is it because while you hide out in academia, Kerr spent more than two decades making a real difference by exposing government chicanery?? Perhaps instead of attacking Kerr, you might work with a good lawyer to force the State to follow the law….

read … Secrecy

Kaiser quits taking first-time Medicaid enrollees

SA: …Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has stopped accepting new Medicaid patients, making it more difficult for those on the government-backed health insurance program to find doctors willing to admit them.

The state’s largest health maintenance organization — both a medical provider and insurer — serves approximately 31,500 members enrolled in Quest, the state’s version of Medicaid, on Oahu and Maui.

Medicaid is one of Hawaii’s largest government programs, with an annual budget of $2 billion and 345,000 members, but doctors have long complained that Quest doesn’t fully reimburse them for the cost of caring for low-income patients, the aged, blind or disabled.

“If a government payer doesn’t pay enough, people can only take on so many of those patients,” said Kaiser spokeswoman Laura Lott. “We do that for the same reason providers (doctors) do it. A doctor in the community can’t have all Quest patients because they don’t pay him enough per patient….

read … Kaiser

Republicans expand leadership, membership and commitment

SA: Our convention’s energy carried over into the exciting announcement June 7 that former Republican Congressman Charles Djou is running for Honolulu mayor. How refreshing it is to hear Djou clearly state: “As mayor, I will veto any further tax increases for the rail system. We need to make this project work with the money we have, not the unlimited blank check (Kirk) Caldwell has given to project developers.” Hawaii Republicans know they can count on Djou to embody our commitment to individual responsibility and fiscal accountability….

read … Expand

Family papaya farm plagued by theft

KHON: The Kamiya family of Punaluu is frustrated that all their hard work is being taken advantage of. Theft is costing them and their employees thousands of dollars….

Michael Kamiya of Kamiya Gold Inc. said “One of our neighbors came to tell us that she saw some people walking out of our fields with buckets of papayas. … They don’t realize what it takes to do that farm work and what it takes to put that fruit on your table.”>

But that’s not all. Someone stole their portable toilet, valued at $2,500.

Company president Ken Kamiya said his Michael called him and said “‘Dad, somebody stole our porta-potty!’ I couldn’t believe it. … That’s unheard of.” …

The Kamiya family says their profits have been hurt, but right now, they need to replace the portable toilet. The law requires that all employees must have a toilet for food safety.

read … Family papaya farm plagued by theft

Hawaii and Alaska are the only states with no organized hate groups

CB: According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which dedicates itself “to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society,” the 50th state and the 49th state, Alaska, are currently free of hate groups.

The center’s hate map counts 892 separate organizations across the continent, with Texas (84 groups), California (68) and Florida (58) leading the pack….

read … Free?

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