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Sunday, June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:18 PM :: 3262 Views

The Surprisingly Sudden Demise of the Anti-GMO Movement

Best states for driving: Hawaii Ranks 15th

Condominium and Community Associations: File or Else!

Hanabusa: Manipulate the Numbers and Go For a Tax Hike

Borreca: …was it bad math skills that caused Honolulu’s rail line to go from $3.5 billion to either $8 billion or $10 billion in a little more than a decade, and would this not have happened if Caldwell and Martin really learned their multiplication tables?

While the $10 billion figure is a projected possible estimate, the same formulas two years put the projected possible cost figure at the $7.59 billion figure now accepted as reality.

In the first story about the possible overage, Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Gordon Pang quoted rail board chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa as warning that “if the decision is that we need to search for additional funds, then we have got to be realistic as to how much this project is really going to cost.”…

What They Won’t Do: Rail: Easy Ways to Save Millions without Cutting Line Short

read … Tax Hike Coming

Star-Adv: Squeeze Construction Industry

SA: Why have costs risen so much and over such a short period of time?…

The only way to be sure that the project doesn’t blow through the new ceiling, too, is to do something to rein in costs….

it’s plainly obvious why elected officials tend not to press industry too hard for these answers. Construction companies and interest groups have influence on lawmakers because they are key donors to their campaign funds.

But it’s well past time for the hard questioning to begin. The City Council, in authorizing in January the extension of the general excise tax surcharge funding rail, added a requirement for HART to produce reports with contracting cost details.

That was a good start, but unfortunately that’s only an annual report and the accountability for sky-high bidding has to start now.

Some of the answers should come from Pacific Resource Partnership….

What They Won’t Do: Rail: Easy Ways to Save Millions without Cutting Line Short

read … Face-Saving Futility 

Rail delay by lawsuit was city’s own fault

SA: Former Star-Bulletin editor Carl Zimmerman continues to make excuses for the rail debacle and tries once again to pass off blame for the runaway costs on opponents who filed lawsuits against the project (“High rail costs easy to explain,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, June 24).

Here are the facts: There were two lawsuits filed: one in federal court, the other in state court. Only the latter resulted in a ruling that delayed construction. Plaintiff Paulette Kaleikini had argued that rail construction be enjoined because of the city’s failure to complete the archaeological inventory survey required by state law.

The Hawaii Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the city failed to comply with HRS Chapter 6E, effectively stopping construction until the archaeological inventory was complete. Construction was delayed for nearly one year.

Kaleikini did not violate the law — the city did. So why does Zimmerman, an experienced journalist, blame her for the delay?

read … Ben Cayetano

Caldwell’s Pants on Fire

Shapiro: >> City ethics director Chuck Totto resigned after being endlessly harassed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s managing director, corporation counsel and Ethics Commission appointees. Caldwell insisted he had nothing to do with it, but ran off without taking questions because his pants were on fire.

>> After famously promising to “build rail better,” Caldwell admitted the project is hopelessly over budget and will have to stop at Middle Street, 5 miles short of its destination. His new slogan: “Better luck next time.”

>> As rail costs passed $8 billion and federal overseers painted a worst case of $10.79 billion, city transportation chief Mike Formby moaned, “Every step along the way, we’ve missed the numbers. How does that happen?” When you do your math with a political calculator instead of an adding machine.

>> Rail officials want to borrow from a $450 million city credit line that then-Mayor Peter Carlisle promised in 2012 wouldn’t be tapped unless “the moon fell into the ocean.” The loud splash you heard was Carlisle’s comeback chances….

read … Moon Splash

Charter Amendment: HART’s Only Job Will be to Collect Taxes and Extend Rail

SA: The proposal advanced by the Honolulu Charter Commission to reform operations and maintenance of our public transportation system would not move the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) into a city department.

HART would remain an independent agency; however, its responsibilities would be limited to construction of the rail project and any future extensions.

Operations and maintenance would be placed with the city Department of Transportation Services (DTS)….

read … Proposed charter amendment would not fold HART into city department

Ige talks big and keeps cool, but kids still boiling in class

SA: …Ige wasn’t sure how the state was going to pay for the project, though. We know now he also wasn’t sure how much the project was going to cost or if any contractors were in the mood to give the state a kamaaina discount.

Here is another classic Hawaii example of promises made (rail to Ala Moana …) before questions were answered (… is gonna cost HOW MUCH?!!).

We used to have a word for that: shibai. Yes, throwing down that word is like firing a shot from a big rusty cannon, but in this case, it’s apt….

Big Q: Should the attorney general investigate the exorbitant bids for air condition ing/cooling public schools?

read … Big Talk and Big Cost

Brower: My Provocation Manipulated your Perceptions and Now We’re Going to Have More Festering Homeless Tent Cities

SA: “Homelessness is the issue of our time,” Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last week at the intersection of Ohe and Olomehani streets, where he had been photographing the encampment when the assault began (and taunted them, but, hey lets just forget that) .

A mob of as many as 10 people chased the state legislator down Olomehani Street to a row of bushes at the doorstep to the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, where Brower fell as he was pummeled in front of children and their parents.

A cut near his right eye, bruised ribs and scrapes on his leg and left hand ended up sending him to the Queen’s Medical Center in an ambulance.

The beating “helped propel people into action,” Brower said. “Everyone would agree with that.”

read … About how easily manipulated you are

‘Liquidated Damages’ New Byword in Effort to Place More Convicts into Expensive, Corrupt UPW-Controlled Prisons

SA: A decade ago, the state began inserting liquidated damages clauses into the contracts it signed with the Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison operator that has annually housed hundreds of Hawaii prisoners at its facilities on the mainland.

The clauses allow the state to hold the Nashville, Tenn.-based company financially accountable if it fails to fulfill terms of the contracts, such as providing adequate staffing and access to substance abuse programs.

However, the state has never sought or obtained damages against CCA even though a number of inmates have been killed while incarcerated, which attorneys for some of the victims have attributed to a shortage of corrections staff, and female prisoners have accused guards of sexual abuse.

In 2009, the state brought home 168 female inmates housed at a CCA prison in Kentucky after Hawaii prisoners alleged they were sexually abused by guards and staff. An investigation by corrections officials found that Otter Creek prison failed to report to authorities several incidents of sexual misconduct between workers and inmates in past years, including instances that had led to the firing of employees.

Shelley Nobriga, the litigation coordinator for the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, said the state has never sought such damages because CCA has always complied with the contracts.

“There was never a situation to even discuss liquidated damages because they were always compliant,” she said, noting that the department checks quarterly to ensure that CCA is fulfilling contract terms.

Meet the UPW:  DPS Still ‘Investigating’ Prison Guard who Allegedly Murdered Mother while on Meth Binge

read … Flacking for the UPW

EPA to Help Design Two Green Rail Stations

EPA: Honolulu, Hawaii, will receive assistance to design street improvements and green infrastructure to better support walking and economic development around two planned rail stations….

read … Boondoggle meets Bigger Boondoggle

Haleakala National Park Implements ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Feral Cats, Dogs 

MN:  …Feral animals trample landscapes, consume and uproot vegetation and can cause erosion, the draft report said. Feral dogs prey on adult uau and nests and are a safety hazard to people in the area. The draft report notes that the native plants and animals evolved with few predators, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the feral animals.

"Without management and removal of feral animals within the HNP (Haleakala National Park) Nuu exclosure, other conservation activities are unlikely to succeed," the draft report said.

The area will be managed for "zero tolerance" of feral animals with intensive control efforts to remove feral animals to "near zero" population in the first year, the draft report said.

The fencing, which will be 7 miles long on 1,885 acres in the national park's Nuu parcel and 230 acres in the state Kahikinui Forest Reserve, does not require an environmental assessment but the removal of the animals does….

WHT: The No Kill Equation

read … Cats and Dogs

Concerns about Zika are shifting destinations for ‘babymooners’

TW: …babymoon and honeymoon specialists reported a shift in the destinations to which pregnant travelers or those looking to become pregnant are heading. Instead of more traditional Caribbean babymoons, soon-to-be parents are choosing Zika-free vacation spots like Hawaii and Canada, among others.

“I am really only seeing [the destination shift] in honeymoon couples, couples that are expecting babies and couples that are trying to get pregnant,” said Margie Hand, an agent and Caribbean specialist with Andavo Travel….

Meanwhile: Dengue Here, Zika Coming but 75% of South Kona Properties Go Unsprayed due to Anti-Pesticide Fanaticism

read … Zika is a Potential Tourism Disaster

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