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Monday, June 27, 2016
June 27, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:49 PM :: 4062 Views

Ige: Captive Insurance Shunts $1.26B to Local Bankers

Ansaldo Caught Lying About Short Staffing Rail Project

SA: …As recently as April, HART officials continued to raise red flags that “unacceptable” personnel vacancies within Ansaldo would hurt rail’s construction progress if they weren’t filled as soon as possible, letters obtained through a Honolulu Star-Advertiser public-records request show. The Hitachi-owned firm has a $1.4 billion contract to create and run rail’s train cars and its operating system.

“Recent and near term vacancies of (Ansaldo’s) current key personnel and other critical project personnel are again causing major concern,” HART Project Manager Justin Garrod wrote in an April 13 letter, echoing his earlier frustrations that go back to last summer.

The issue over Ansaldo vacancies — and HART’s concerns — first surfaced in October.

At that time Ansaldo’s project manager in Hawaii told the Star-Advertiser that the firm had already filled most of the positions in question months earlier, before HART raised the issue in July.

However, the recently obtained letters show that HART was still demanding that Ansaldo fill those key positions in September. (oooops!)

They included a communication lead engineer, a traction electrification lead engineer, an interface manager for construction and a project control manager….

read … Firm creating rail cars has staffing problems

Ige’s Rap Back Violates 1986 Federal Law

G: …gun rights advocates with the Hawaii Rifle Association argue the new law may violate long-standing federal prohibitions.

The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, specifically bans the establishment of any federal system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions.

“It states that the Federal Government will not be able to maintain a database on gun owners, and that’s exactly what this is,” HRA Board Member Bill Richter told local media. “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.”

As Act 108, the new law takes effect immediately….

read … Guns.com

Tourist: Seeing homeless people Take a Dump on the Sidewalk in Hawaii was unexpected

DR: The lady had obviously wet herself. She was sitting on a bench in downtown Waikiki, Oahu pants soaked and barely moving — seeming to be more comfortable with her predicament than I was….

I found out later, she defecated on the sidewalk just moments after I’d passed by….

Hobos are strewn from the mountainside parks to the pristine beaches in Hawaii. Bodies hug the beaches where sandy shorelines create pillows for their homeless heads. Men, women and children alike, huddle along the side streets lined with swaying palm trees.

Many chose to be homeless here in Hawaii where the climate is friendly year round — there are harsher states in which one could be living on the fly,….

Just as surprising as seeing so many homeless here is the story of how many of them purportedly got here. Many Hawaiian natives I spoke with believe that states on the mainland send their homeless here to alleviate the burden of providing benefits to them out of their own state funds….

However they got here and whatever keeps them blowing towards the beaches of Oahu, the homeless in Hawaii are drowning, sometimes in their own urine,…

read … Tourism Being Killed by ACLU

City's homeless housing services center celebrates grand opening

HNN: Since opening in November of 2015, officials said Hale Mauliola has provided a variety of critical services to nearly 170 homeless individuals, successfully moving nearly half of them into permanent housing facilities to date.

“Just seven months since opening, we have already exceeded our goal to helping 140 clients a year. We have successfully moved 60 individuals into permanent housing facilities,” said Kimo Carvalho, IHS director of community relations.

Of those who have left Hale Mauliola, Carvalho said 20 had voluntarily left and abandoned their rooms while 16 had been asked to leave for violating facility rules with illegal behavior. He noted that of those kicked out, half had actually returned to homeless services through another IHS facility or U.S.VETS program….

One unidentified woman, said she was very happy living at Hale Mauliola compared to being in a tent 5 months ago in Kahaluu near the Hygenic Store. She said she was lucky to find out about the site and get signed up because she’d only been homeless for a few weeks due to family problems. Now she’s on track to move into a transitional housing facility in another 6 months….

read … City's homeless housing services center celebrates grand opening

Caldwell: I want to Control Grants in Aid

SA: Language in the Honolulu City Charter requiring the city to set aside a percentage of annual revenues for a grants-in-aid fund to be doled out to Oahu nonprofits would be abolished under a plan moving through the Charter Commission….

Describing it as a form of pork-barreling, Caldwell said adding funding on top of the percentage required by the 2012 amendment gives Council members the ability to dole out money to their friends and curry favor, bypassing the established advisory committee vetting process — at the expense of essential city services….

Caldwell spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said, “The governor has a valid point that it doesn’t make sense to have a mandatory, half-percent through a commission process and then to earmark additional grants on top of that.”

Caldwell supports the grants advisory commission process because it removes political favoritism from the process. “Not only does the GIA advisory commission vet projects for their benefits to the community, they also look closely at their financial plans and score them to make sure that they actually have financial plans that ensure they deliver what they promise to do.” …

SA: Don’t dismantle city grants system

SA:  Familiarize yourself now with charter issues

read … Pork Fight

Is Hawaii Offshore Wind a Done Deal?

IM: Abigail Ross Hopper, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), came to Hawaii to meet with the community and the government….

According to her BOEM Biography, “She was a lead negotiator representing the State’s interests in both the Exelon/Constellation merger and the FirstEnergy/Allegheny Energy merger, securing millions in benefits for Maryland and its citizens.”

“As MEA Director, Hopper was pivotal in ensuring the passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.”

The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 altered “the Maryland renewable energy portfolio standard program to include a specified amount of energy derived from offshore wind energy.”

The bill established requirements for the Maryland Public Service Commission.

“Requiring the Commission to determine the offshore wind energy component of the renewable portfolio standard based on certain projections.”

HE: US takes first steps towards offshore wind for Hawaii

read … Is Hawai`i Offshore Wind a Done Deal?

Trask: Thousands of OHA Trust Dollars Used for Staff Trips to Cook Islands

Trask: “OHA needs to be more transparent and it needs to be more accountable. OHA staff and trustees are unaware of the rules and ethical standards they are required to follow as a state agency. Training for all OHA trustees and personnel should be undertaken yearly by the OIP, state and county ethics commissions and a compliance officer retained to advise the BOT and staff on these regulations and to review office procedures and report on deficiencies and violations.

“Although the law requires some training in these areas, OHA has historically ignored these requirements. OHA should update their Personal Handbook and employee contracts to include the requirement that the failure of an employee or elected Trustee to obey and implement a decision by these regulatory bodies is grounds for dismissal or removal from office. When Trustee Akana received an opinion from OIP that data regarding staff international travel should have been public, the executive staff refused to reveal the data and Akana sued them to get it! As a result, data regarding thousands of trust dollars used for staff trips to New Zealand, the Cook Islands and other global locations has yet to be made public.” ….

“The lack of affordable housing is a critical issue on Hawaii Island where we now have hundreds of homeless families unable to pay the high cost of rent….  OHA has an affirmative obligation to work with the DHHL to address these needs. DHHL has lands on every island and is largely exempt from county regulation.”

“OHA is still trying to be all things to all people. OHA should re-focus its energy and Strategic Plan on addressing needs of Hawaiians in critical areas like housing, employment, job training and education. OHA is spending its corpus rapidly with few tangible outcomes. OHA should adopt a policy of fiscal restraint based on the recommendations in the PKF Report report and set achievable outcomes as goals it can pursue instead of developing sweeping “vision” statements that do not uplift the living conditions or health of its beneficiaries.”

“OHA’s agreement with the Lingle administration to cap the Hawaiian people’s share of ceded land revenues is a breach of trust in my estimation. All trustees have the legal obligation to maximize trust revenues. OHA’s decision to make a political deal to limit our people’s share of 5(f) revenues was a clear violation of its trust and fiduciary obligations. In addition, the Kakaako “ceded land revenue settlement agreement” between OHA and Abercrombie came up $100 million short when the entitlements issue was not resolved. This matter is still outstanding and should be addressed with the new governor and new Board of OHA.”

“Bringing back a multi-party system would be a relief”

“We cannot begin to fashion a solution to the TMT issue until the state and private sector acknowledge the rights of practitioners and address the need for protection of cultural heritage associated with the Mauna. If this is not done, litigation will continue.”

read … Trask

Lindsey: OHA Should Model itself on Cook Islands

Lindsey: “As incumbent trustee and board chair, I believe OHA is being run well and heading in a good direction”

“What’s clear is our asset base is insufficient to meet the needs of our people. Going forward this is where we will need to place our energy and focus, growing our portfolio and looking to partner/collaborate seriously with others who share common interests (Ali’I Trusts) on behalf of our lahui. Concurrently, we must update our Strategic Plan sometime soon as it is almost a decade old.”

“currently OHA has found a better way to deal with the ceded lands issue”

“…my hope is my Republican friends will find strong candidates to run in future elections and bring parity/balance to a political process which is so lopsided. I’m confident this can and will happen. It’s a new time with social media, folks are less prone to vote along party lines, are more independent minded, willing to vote for person, not party, at least at the local level….”

“A potential model to consider is the free association model that the Cook Islands adopted 50 years ago.”

“…my stance on the TMT is a neutral one….”

read … Lindsey

Tangled up in Red Tape: Weed Dealers May not be Able to Open this year

SA: …The state doesn’t have a certified lab to test marijuana quality as required by law, is still establishing a process for the Narcotics Enforcement Division, or NED, to certify facilities to handle the drug and has yet to finalize a contract for an online seed-to-sale system to track inventory and sales at outlets statewide.

In April the Department of Health awarded eight licenses to businesses that can begin selling medical marijuana legally for the first time in Hawaii as early as July 15.

The DOH acknowledged that “it’s unlikely that there will be a retail outlet opening on July 15” and didn’t know when operators would begin selling the drug despite their best efforts.

“There are requirements outside of DOH control that will need to be managed by the licensees, such as plans and permitting for renovation or construction,” said DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo. “The dispensary staff have been meeting with licensees, and no on-site inspections have been completed.”

Businesses still must build enclosed indoor growing facilities, hire employees and install 24-hour security systems and a computer software tracking system that connects with the DOH, among other measures when starting a business from scratch. In addition, it takes a minimum of about four months to grow pakalolo.

“Considering we don’t a have a certified lab, we’re under the impression that no group has seeds in the ground yet, which would also imply NED certification has not been provided to any of the licensees,” said Christopher Garth, executive director of the Hawaii Dispensary Alliance. “They have to have a physical location that has to be inspected by DOH and NED, then they have to grow, then they have to test their product internally and then test their product with a third party.”

Garth is hopeful that at least one dispensary will open this year….

read … Business Regulations

Opponents of vacation rental tax bill renew push for a veto

SA: …Proponents of the measure say it would make it easier for the state Department of Taxation to collect from the vacation rental market, which has been ramping up since online travel sellers entered Hawaii. The bill’s biggest supporters have been Airbnb and the Maui Hotel &Lodging Association….

Opposition forces have formed their own powerful hui, which includes the Institute for Human Services, the Kailua and North Shore neighborhood boards, the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law &Economic Justice, Faith Action for Community Equity, SONHawai‘i, Keep It Kailua, and Aloha Aina No Koolauloa. Numerous private individuals also testified against the measure, which they said could change the fabric of isle neighborhoods….

read … Veto?

CB: Two Criminals Die in Arizona Prison so we Should Return them all to Corrupt UPW Prisons

CB: Valley fever is widespread (occurs sometimes, but not often) in the Southwest, yet Hawaii prison officials haven’t paid much attention to it, despite the recent deaths of at least two prisoners who had the disease. 

Meanwhile: DPS Still ‘Investigating’ Prison Guard who Allegedly Murdered Mother

read … Die in Prison

Soft on Crime: Alleged Shooter Had Many Convictions Yet was out on Streets Again

SA:  …Reis has an extensive criminal record with 39 arrests and five convictions. In 2003, he was sentenced to 10 years for first-degree burglary. His other convictions include assault, abuse and probation violations.

Reis is was awaiting three trials: car theft and driving without a license in September 2013; first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and kidnapping in January 2013, use of a firearm and impersonating a law enforcement officer; and another first-degree robbery charge in November 2011.

Reis was initially arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder when he was arrested on Friday. The case was later reclassified to manslaughter on Sunday when Reis was charged.

read … Soft on Crime Kills Again

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