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Friday, June 24, 2016
June 24, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:13 PM :: 3088 Views

Djou: Rail Mess is a Pure Failure of Leadership

Ige Signs Rap Back: Hawaii Gun Owners to be Placed in FBI Database

Hawaii Passes First of Its Kind Gun Legislation

Conviction Tossed: How They Get Away in Soft on Crime Hawaii

Molasses Spill Very Profitable for Aha Moku Council

Oppression of Education

PUEO Hawaiians oppose removal of UH-Hilo telescope—Win Delay

HTH: Plans to remove Hoku Kea, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s teaching telescope, from Mauna Kea are being delayed after a group of Native Hawaiians who support astronomy on the mountain and others urged officials to consider the impact to students.

The university slated the tiny observatory for removal last year in order to meet Gov. David Ige’s decision to demolish three telescopes before the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope is completed. The move was part of Ige’s 10-point plan aimed at improving management of the mountain, the site of large protests against the TMT last year by the Native Hawaiian community.

But members of Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, a group of pro-TMT Hawaiians, and other individuals questioned the decision last month during an Office of Mauna Kea Management board meeting, citing the educational value of Hoku Kea for Hawaiians and other Hawaii Island residents if the broken 36-inch telescope is replaced as previously planned.

In response, the board chose to defer approving the official notice of intent to decommission the observatory until it hears more public input and a report from a Governor’s Office representative. That effectively postpones decommissioning.

“It’s like saying that our kids don’t deserve to have any kind of opportunities to access the technology that’s there,” said Patrick Kahawaiolaa, president of the Keaukaha Community Association and PUEO member, on Thursday….

Kahawaiolaa said he also would like to see the UH-Manoa-owned UKIRT, one of the two other telescopes slated for decommissioning, be saved and questioned Ige’s decision to have a quarter of the telescopes removed.

“He said 25 percent cutback. Why?” he asked. “That’s the real question for me. Why, so Native Hawaiian kids don’t get the opportunity?”

Meanwhile, plans to remove the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, that already was selected for removal in 2009, are progressing.

At the same May 11 meeting, the Mauna Kea management board voted to approve the notice of intent for its removal.

read … Turnabout

Rifle Association: “High Likelihood of Legal Action”

KHON: Bill Richter, president of Lessons in Firearms Education says the new law won’t work the way it’s intended, instead putting a burden on gun owners.

“I think it’s a mistake I think the intentions were good behind it like many of the gun laws that are proposed and eventually enacted. I think it will be ineffective. I think there’s some constitutional issues that need to be addressed, and I think Hawaii trying to be innovative is going to find instead that they’re going to be saddled with costs that they are not anticipating including possible cost to defend legal actions,” said Richter.

Harvey Gerwig of The Hawaii Rifle Association says requiring gun owners to be part of a federal database in unconstitutional.

“The rap back issue violates the 1986 regulation. The federal elation of no database on firearms owners. So we’re very disappointed, and the likelihood is quite high that it will require legal action,” said Gerwig.

read … Lawsuit

Kakaako property owners suffering for ‘maybe train’

Borreca: All bets are off as to when and if Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s rail line is coming to Ala Moana….

So what do they say to the many Honolulu businesses, some established before statehood, clustered around Ala Moana, being forced to move or having already left?….

“Living under the threat of a full taking makes it difficult to make plans,” said Scott, who said the family business moved to Kona Street in 1955, before statehood and before Ala Moana Center was built.

Across Kona Street, Honolulu Hardwoods is also in the path of the maybe train. The certainty is that the city wants the property, but the two sides are far apart and the fight has become rough enough that the owners have been told by their attorney not to talk to the media about the fight.

Caldwell and company can’t keep quiet. The businesses along Kona Street and the others by the airport and along Dillingham all need to be told why, whether or not we build rail, they still must move.

Related: Rail: Caldwell’s Flip-Flop Opens Door to Lawsuits by Property Owners Targeted by HART

read … Kakaako property owners suffering for ‘maybe train’

Simple Traffic Solutions Don’t Cost Billions

HNN: The HOV lanes in five heavily congested areas will now be open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. during weekdays. The change starts Monday, June 27 and extends the routes by 30 minutes….

In addition to the morning changes, the DOT is making adjustments to its evening traffic patterns.  The existing carpool restrictions for the following routes will be lifted to allow cars with just one person inside, starting on June 27….

CB: Meet Middle Street, Oahu’s Hot New Travel Destination

read … Simple Solutions

Cool Schools: Price Gouging, 100 Page Bid Sheet

KHON: Rep. Matthew LoPresti, who represents the Ewa Beach area, is asking the Attorney General’s office to investigate whether contractors artificially inflated their bids for profit.

As an example, LoPresti said, the DOE said the bid for one photovoltaic-powered air conditioning project with an estimated cost of $20,000 came in at more than $100,000.

“Given the estimates the industry gave of about $20,000 to $40,000 per classroom, and now we’re getting bids, it seems, between $80,000 and $135,000 a classroom,” he said. “That jump is inexplicable….

This past session, the legislature approved more than $100 million to add air conditioners to 1,000 classrooms by the end of this year.

Now, some schools won’t be cooled until March.

LoPresti noted that there were also complaints from contractors that the bid specifications for a $20,000 project were up to 100 pages long, which makes submitting a bid expensive and complicated.

“I would like the DOE to take a look at the bidding process and simplify the documents if possible,” he said….

read … Lawmaker calls for investigation into possible price gouging among ‘Cool Schools’ bids

PRP: DoE Gold-Plating Cool Schools Bids

HNN: …Pacific Resource Partnership represents more than 200 contractors. Executive Director John White said the high bids can be explained by the projects' specifications.

"On some sites the specs include not only air conditioning installation but landscaping or re-roofing or upgrading the electrical systems," he said.

Schools are also competing with other state departments for the same small group of specialty contractors.  The DOE said they may be more interested in projects that are less complex and generate more revenue to cooling classrooms.

"So when they see some of those projects, they'll throw a large number at it. if they get the bid then they're happy. But they don't want to spend a lot of time doing that because, one, they just don't have the capacity," said Dann Carlson, DOE Facilities Assistant Superintendent.

Hawaii News Now compared some bid results from the Department of Accounting and General Services with the DOE's AC bids.  DAGs doesn't seem to have the same problem.  Several of its bids came in at or below the original estimate.  The bidders are often the same contractors submitting high bids for the school projects. 

read … Featherbedding

Peter Apo: Obama Should Say No To Expanded Marine Monument

CB: President Obama is considering a request to more than quadruple the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, to 580,000 square miles — an area as large as the states of Texas, California and Montana.

If Obama takes this step, the federal government essentially would assert control over hundreds of thousands of miles of ocean around Hawaii with no public discussion….

The push to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is part of a larger global strategy to bring millions of square miles of the world’s oceans under a common umbrella of environmental protective governance that would designate vast expanses as marine sanctuaries, monuments or conservation areas. 

The intent of such a sweeping global objective seems noble, given global warming and the degradation of the ocean environment. No doubt we need to manage our ocean resources better. But the zealousness with which a loose global coalition of ultra-conservative scientists and marine environmentalists are pushing to create new marine conservation areas is imposing draconian restrictions on human access to vast expanses of the ocean.

These restrictions work by installing a gatekeeper permit application process subject to a blanket of government regulations, some of which don’t make sense.

For instance, in Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument, Native Hawaiians can practice subsistence fishing. So Hawaiians, with a conditional permit, can access the area and fish – but they have to eat the fish before leaving the zone to go home.

To this writer, clearly the analysis of the ultra-conservative wing of marine conservation scientists and environmentalists is: The less human access the better….

read … Just Say No

US Supreme Court Slaps Down Hawaii Supreme Court on Breathalyzer Testing

KHON: The Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii issued a ruling in a similar case, STATE OF HAWAII vs. YONG SHIK WON, on Nov. 25, 2015. The court ruled a breath test taken by Won was not admissible into evidence.

“Under article I, section 7 of the Hawaii Constitution, where no ‘specifically established and well-delineated exception[]’ is present, a warrantless search is per se unreasonable, and any results of that search must be excluded from evidence.”

read … Reversed

State public housing available in record time thanks to new team of contractors

HNN: …Officials say they hope to move a total of 100 people into state public housing this month alone.  That's double the average.  The increase is credited to a new team of contractors tasked with renovating empty units that were in need of extensive repairs.

"It's 35 folks strong.  It has carpenters, plumbers, electricians.  Their sole goal is to descend on any vacant unit, make sure that it gets ready and do that within seven days," ….

Before the "extreme makeover" model was incorporated the average repair time was 267 days per unit.

Right now about 300 apartments remain under construction.  Officials say the next round of units should become available in November…. 

HNN: Sweep clears homeless’ junk from Nimitz Hwy.

read … State public housing available in record time thanks to new team of contractors

5 Democrats vie for right to seek empty HD29 seat

SA: A relatively rare vacancy in the state House in urban Honolulu has attracted a crowded field of five candidates to the Democratic primary to compete for the chance to represent Chinatown, Iwilei and parts of Kalihi.

State Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is abandoning his House seat in an effort to move up to the state Senate this year. Rhoads has held that House seat for the past decade.

The competitors in the race to replace Rhoads include an assistant inspector general for the 25th Infantry Division, a labor lawyer, the secretary of the Democratic Party’s Oahu County Committee, a retiree who served as a city councilman in the Philippines, and the assistant sergeant-at-arms of the state Senate….

read … HD29

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