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Saturday, June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:47 PM :: 3415 Views

Rail: Building To The Nowhere Of Middle?

In the Beginning, Rail Cost Only $3B

Privatization: 20 Years of UPW Garbage in Hawaii’s Courts

Marijuana License Scores: DoH Reveals Which Cronies Just Don’t Make the Grade

Hawaii Gun Owners May Be Monitored More Closely Than Criminals

Hawaii Access to Justice Conference 2016

Hanabusa Caught Flatfooted on Two-Year Old Rail Cost Estimate

KHON: …How transparent HART was about some big billions worst-case numbers is now at the forefront of the debate about whether to take over rail or leave it independent under HART.

The feds do what’s called a risk refresh every couple years for Honolulu’s rail, and each time a top-end figure pops up — in the latest case $11 billion — a couple years ago, nearly $8 billion, no longer a way-outside figure — instead it’s the current consensus of the cost to Ala Moana.

The fact no one made hay of the $8 billion number two years ago is among the reasons some are saying rail needs to be run differently.

“I don’t believe the mayor, the City Council, the Legislature were even aware of the figure,” said HART board chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa. “I’m not sure they were aware of the document. Someone in HART was aware of it.”

Always Investigating tracked back on HART’s public Docushare site and found the full reports on the HART website. We also found that they’d been handed out at a September 2014 board meeting, attended by then-board chair Don Horner along with administration appointees.

The risk refresh was cited in documentation given last March to the Legislature’s two money chairs — Rep. Sylvia Luke and Sen. Jill Tokuda — and CC-ed to the council chair and mayor’s managing director before lawmakers voted on a general excise tax extension now known to be too short.

“In this case, at this point, it does look like HART does a better job with transparency than the governmental unit at the city and the state level,” said Hawaii Pacific University professor and political analyst John Hart….

read … Hanabusa Knows Nothing

Abolish HART?  Caldwell Grabs for Control of Rail

KHON: …Caldwell’s administration has proposed a city charter change that would dismantle the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation structure. Instead of it being a semi-autonomous commission, rail operations and all its assets and properties would come under the mayor’s Transportation Services department.

Supporters say it gives elected officials more direct control, while opponents say it would create yet another problem.

Back in February, the mayor said in his State of the City he wanted to take rail back from HART when it comes time to operate the train.

CB: One More Fundraiser For Caldwell

read … Should rail be city-run or independent? Voters may decide this fall

With No Security at Night, Graffiti Artist Has All night for First Tag on Honolulu Rail Car

HNN: …"People should be outraged. These are very expensive trains that we bought. Probably about $2 million a car," said Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Spokesman Bill Brennan.

The cars sit in the rail Operations Center next to Leeward Community College. The building is locked at 4 p.m. and reopened at 6 a.m….

"It looks like it took a long time. I would ask, 'What's going on with your security?'" said Reiko Bryant, who also supports rail.

Surveillance cameras are in place, but the City says it is increasing security after this incident. …

Mobile users, click here to see more images.

KHON: Luke said the rail yard’s security appeared to be lacking and “basically was nothing.”

read … First Graffiti

“There’s a lot of irregular things going on with revocable permits” – BLNR OKs changes

SA: The Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday unanimously approved sweeping changes to its controversial month-to-month land leasing program, aiming to improve transparency and accountability in issuing and renewing rental agreements that currently cover nearly 100,000 acres statewide.

The changes are designed to provide the public with clearer justifications on why revocable permits, rather than long-term leases, are being issued and whether the monthly rents are fair for the state. The revisions also are meant to open the process to competition if multiple parties potentially are interested in a parcel.

“There’s a lot of irregular things going on with revocable permits, and I think this would straighten a lot of them out,” said board member Thomas Oi, a former state land agent on Kauai….

read … Land Board OKs changes to leasing program

Initiative seeks conversation, public’s vision for Mauna Kea

SA: A new initiative intended to change the conversation around the proposed construction of the largest observatory on Mauna Kea is underway, with supporters hoping it will reduce the ongoing tension surrounding the disputed Thirty Meter Telescope.

The nonprofit Friends of the Future is leading the EnVision Maunakea initiative, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. Susan Maddox is in charge of the project that seeks to document residents’ vision for the mountain through a series of meetings around Hawaii island….

read … Initiative seeks conversation, public’s vision for Mauna Kea

School air-conditioning bids

SA: …Procurement documents show the priciest per-classroom proposal came in at $360,770 to install solar-powered air conditioning in one portable classroom at Ewa Beach Elementary. That bid was submitted by Contech Engineering Inc. The lowest bid for the project was $102,000 from CC Engineering & Construction.

At $239,850 per classroom, Contech Engineering also bid the highest among five bidders for a five-classroom cooling project at August Ahrens Elementary. Contech officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

A project to cool five portable classrooms at Aliamanu Elementary attracted a high bid of $180,540 per classroom from Economy Plumbing & Sheet Metal Inc. and a low bid of $80,820 per classroom from CC Engineering & Construction, which also was the lowest bidder on two other cooling projects. The companies did not return requests for comment.

Carlson told the Board of Education this week that the department has outright rejected some of the bids and is working to renegotiate others under the state’s procurement laws, but anticipates rebidding most of the work in early July — likely delaying by several months a project that initially was envisioned to be completed by December….

read … Procurement

Where is the sweat equity by the homeless?

SA: …Volunteers provide landscaping at Hale Mauliola to add a “homey touch” to the complex (“Landscaping at Hale Mauliola adds homey touch to complex,” Star-Advertiser, June 20).

And Home Depot Kapolei is going to build a vegetable garden for them? Seriously? Is it going to weed the garden for them, too? Why wouldn’t the residents (being so appreciative in the first place) volunteer to do their own landscaping and vegetable gardening?

Connie Mitchell, the executive director of the Institute for Human Services, is “constantly trying to think of innovative ways to serve our homeless people.”

In addition to free housekeeping sweeps? What next? Give them a car? Then gas money?

Sweat equity should be mandatory….

read … Mandatory

Lawmaker demands answers in police academy cheating scandal

KHON: …On Wednesday night, 12 recruits joined the ranks of Honolulu’s finest. It was a very small class considering the last graduating class had 47.

This class was small to begin with, but got even smaller because, according to HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu, “There was an investigation into alleged cheating at the academy, and several recruits were required to leave.”

We asked, “How many commanders or officers were reassigned because of the recruits cheating?”

“No officers were disciplined or reassigned,” she replied.

“So why hasn’t anyone been held accountable, unless what the police spokesperson Michelle Yu said was wrong?” asked Sen. Will Espero, D, Public Safety Committee.

On Friday afternoon, Espero sent an email to Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, asking for a copy of the investigation or report about the cheating….

Espero says a couple of people have told him this happened.

“Somehow a test was gotten out of security from storage and got into the hands of students,” he said….

read … Cheating

Ing Caught Lying Again

MN: …I found Ing took credit for authoring the bills he quoted. "Requiring state board members to have some kind of training in native Hawaiian law and landscaping to require Native indigenous plants."

These two bills Ing speaks of were a part of OHA's legislative package and introduced by Speaker Joe Souki "by request." Ing's name appears nowhere on either bill, nor any other bill which became a law, and he has provided no evidence backing up his claim to have drafted OHA bills….

read … Lying

The Last Days of PUC Commissioner Mike Champley

IM: Michael E. Champley, a Commissioner with the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commissioner, is about to retire. His term ends June 30.

After retirement Champley and his wife will go Down Under, that is, to visit Australia and/or New Zealand.

(And NextEra’s hopes go with him….)

read … The Last Days of PUC Commissioner Mike Champley

Hawaii PUC infuses new energy into community renewables plan

PBN: The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is moving forward with a plan to connect many more Hawaiian Electric Co. customers to solar power. The details are spelled out in a 101-page order filed by the PUC on June 8, a year after Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 1050 into law.

The law instructs HECO and its subsidiaries to develop a community-based renewable energy plan that would give more residents and businesses access to solar power. The details are complicated, but essentially businesses and residents such as condominium dwellers could rent space in a community solar farm and pay less for electricity as a result….

read … Renewables

North Shore, Waianae Residents Question Plan for Ocean-Based Wind Farm

IM: …The North Shore community raised a number of issues.

Ocean turbine platforms act as Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs). Placing them in the middle of ahi runs, may alter the migration pattern of the ahi, their food, sharks, and birds.

The turbines may impact ocean swells at various surfing sites.

There are traditional Native Hawaiian canoe routes from Oahu to Kauai that may be blocked.

Ka`ena Point is very sacred. It is the place where souls leave the Earth to enter po, to join the souls of their ancestors.

The North Shore already produces more energy than it consumes. Thus any wind project would be further resource extraction. Developers and government target rural communities, because they think the communities are disorganized.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board is on record for having unanimously passed a resolution, against the Ka`ena wind proposal.

Both the Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration, neither of which was present, would impact the nature of would be built.

The Coast Guard would establish a security perimeter around the turbines, and the FAA would require flashing red lights on the 600 foot turbines.

Some Hawai`i land-based turbines have higher-than-expected bird and bat kills. The land sites are monitored by people who look for carcasses. How would this be done at sea?

One fisherman noted that he can see the land turbines from 20 miles offshore, therefore the ocean turbines at 8-12 miles offshore could be seen from the land.

Several people objected to HECO`s curtailing the ability of homeowners to install solar on their roof. The grid should be upgraded first. Local solutions are preferred.

Dr. Michael Fry spoke as a community voice in the Waianae meeting….

Dr. Fry raised five issues for the two sites, and a sixth issue for the South Oahu site.

Albatross and shearwaters colonies, vertical tension legs and cables interfering with whales and other marine animals, fishing issues, the impact of ocean swells and hurricanes noting that oil platforms in the Caribbean have been overturned, the impact on navy radar, and submarine entanglements….

read … Rusting Wind Junk

Hooser Go Away and STFU

KE: …Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser would have gotten a much better response to his survey if he'd asked the one question that so many voters want to hear:

Would you like me to go away and STFU?

Curious, his sudden interest in what voters want, now that he's facing defeat. Most politicians seek such guidance at the beginning of their term, so they can avoid debacles like introducing a fireplace ban.

As Hooser careens toward the likely loss of his Council seat, he's taken to mad pandering….

read … Musings: By Definition, Flawed

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