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Tuesday, June 28, 2016
June 28, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:47 PM :: 3603 Views

Major Unions Endorse Djou for Mayor

Irresponsible: Caldwell Moves for 10 Month Delay on Rail Recovery Plan

Transgender Insurance Mandate Among 12 Bills Ige Signing Today

Ige: Intent to Veto 9 Bills

Ige Signs HB2501: A&B Keeps E Maui Water

Study: Hawaii is Number One in Teacher Absenteeism

Honolulu Charter Commission Sets Community Meetings

Matson launches new foreign flag service

Feds Demand Arrest of Tugboat after Giant Golf Ball Mishap

Hawaii Federalist Society: Supreme Court Term in Review

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 28, 2016

DBEDT: Housing Over 40% of Consumer Spending for Kauai, Hawaii Co

Compact Impact: Why Pacific Islanders are Fleeing to Hawaii

As Supporters Jump Ship, Caldwell Plan Would Have Feds Withhold HART Funding for 3rd Year—Creates $750M shortfall

SA: In a letter dated Friday to Federal Transit Administration officials — Administrator Carolyn Flowers and Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers — Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the city wants until June 1, 2017 to submit a recovery plan….

Both Colleen Hanabusa, chairwoman of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, and Martin said they aren’t surprised by Caldwell’s letter, given the short timetable the FTA gave the city….

(Short?  The FTA has been demanding a Recovery Plan since 2015 as explained HERE and HERE.  By skipping a third deadline, Caldwell brings the federal shortfall to $750M.)

Adding to the time crunch is the need for HART to submit recommendations to the Council and the mayor, she said. The Council, by resolution, would then authorize her board to instruct its staff to negotiate with the FTA, she said.  (Translation: This is all political.  Question: Is Caldwell worth $750M?)

read ... Mayor seeks 10 more months for HART recovery plan

Labor Leaders, HART Vice Chair, ‘Disappointed’ with Caldwell

HNN: The five unions supported Kirk Caldwell for mayor in 2010 and again in 2012, but the change of heart this time around comes after growing frustrations involved with the rail project.

"We did endorse Caldwell the last two times and all I can say the word for me is disappointment," said IBEW Local 1186 Leader (and HART Vice Chair) Damien Kim. "The disappointment of what we thought was going to be happening in those years did not come into fruition at this time."

"We need to do things more transparently and what we see in Djou is fiscal accountability," said Reggie Castanares of Plumbers and Fitters Union, Local 675.

Fiscal accountability is Djou's main selling point. He has made a big promise to cap rail spending at $7 billion, which would likely prevent the City from building the full route to Ala Moana Center.

"These are not ordinary times here," said Djou. "We have got to bring this community together to fix these massive problems."

"We want to bring back the communication that was lost, the trust between the executive and legislative branch," Castanares said.

"It's very rare for them to endorse a republican, but in this case they seem to think he can really win this race," said Hawaii News Now Political Analyst Colin Moore. "So if I were Charles Djou, I'd be very pleased and if I were Kirk Caldwell, I'd be very worried." …

"It shows the Djou Campaign has momentum and the Caldwell Campaign is losing it," said Moore….

read … Momentum

Feb 21, 2007: The Day Rail Jumped the Tracks

Borreca: …to capture the moment when the Honolulu mass transit system first twitched, you need to go back to the Feb. 21, 2007, City Council meeting. Then-Councilmembers Charles Djou and Donovan Dela Cruz were fighting Councilman and now state Rep. Romy Cachola over the route. Djou and Dela Cruz were arguing for “a common-sense approach,” with the train ending at UH.

Cachola, driven by calls from his constituents who wanted the rail to stop in their Salt Lake district, plotted to change the route so it skipped the airport. But doing that meant dropping UH because it was too costly. Salt Lake meant Ala Moana was as far as rail could go.

Picture One: The Council votes 5-4 to build rail, passing a resolution that “recognizing a fixed guideway system covering the entire locally preferred alternative alignment is the long-term goal and that a shorter system should be built first with the revenues available.”

Students howled. Then-Mayor Mufi Hannemann said that was not his first choice, but he wanted action on building the rail route.

A Feb. 28, 2007, Honolulu Advertiser article noted, “Hannemann allies unexpectedly had swapped the airport link for Salt Lake Boulevard last Wednesday to win a crucial swing vote from Councilman Romy Cachola that kept the project alive.”

Then, Djou called the decision “a train wreck” that would doom the entire project — a metaphor that Djou is now exercising to describe the current rail route to Middle Street as he campaigns for mayor.

Picture Two: “This system will be a failure from the day it starts, because it has dropped UH-Manoa,” Djou said.

Political expediency, however, is not a lost art at Honolulu Hale.

A year later after the City Charter amendment on rail won voter approval, the Council reconsidered the Salt Lake route and decided to move the route back to the Pearl Harbor, airport line. UH remains a station too far….

read … Feb 21, 2007

Train car graffiti just latest in string of crimes at Honolulu rail sites

KHON: …the graffiti break-in wasn’t the first crime there, and in fact, the site was hit just last month….

The Rail Operations Center, and the maintenance and storage facility, is a sprawling property between Leeward Community College and Waipahu High School, home to what will be the hub of the entire system and garaging the first four train lengths already on island.

The price tag so far: $275 million.

It’s one of the single most expensive facilities that will be built along the rail line and it appears secure from the outside with multiple layers of tall fencing surround the whole property.

Yet it’s been the target of several crimes over the past several years.

The monthly reports reveal things like equipment stolen from the facility just last month — including copper, according to HPD. There were also vehicles burglarized and stuff stolen from them too. A generator disappeared, a fence was cut, a forklift and a van had their ignitions broken and windows pried open.

Even a few years ago, people were trespassing.

Last Friday, when KHON2 was out to cover the graffiti story, we spotted and reported another big hole in a perimeter fence….

the rail project, work sites and construction yards beyond just the rail hub has been a substantial target of thieves, vandals, and things even more dangerous.

For example, a worker was assaulted last July in the Kamehameha guideway area of the job. A couple months later, a Kiewit truck got hit by a BB gun.

In the fall of 2014, someone pulled out a handgun and threatened a guideway worker within days of another section of the project reporting a gunshot noise from a passing car….

read … Crimes

Telescope company continues education fund despite limbo

HNN: …Telescope officials promised the $1 million for every year of the 19-year Mauna Kea sublease- as long as the observatory is in operation or under construction. However, the project remains stalled amid intense opposition and a state Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the construction permit.

Despite the project's limbo, $2 million has been given to Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, which award grants and scholarships….

read … Limbo

Sand Island: Key to Homeless Success Story is NO TENTS

SA: …Hale Mauliola housed its first set of residents in mid-November. Most residents who enter the shelter move on to stable housing rather quickly, with the average length of stay being 50 days.

Clayton Gohier, 75, has been living at Hale Mauliola for six months after being homeless in Waikiki, and is expected to move into his new apartment within the next two weeks.

“Coming here it was like being reborn,” Gohier said. “It’s clean, good surroundings, nice coming home to something like that. I’m lucky, very lucky.”

According to the executive director of the Institute for Human Services, Connie Mitchell, 80 people currently live in the shipping container complex, which has a maximum capacity of 83, and there are 20 more people “waiting in the wings” to come in as more residents move into permanent housing “this week.”

“We are laser-focused on transitioning people into permanent housing,” Mitchell said. “We expect everyone who comes in here to work with our staff or their case manager to actually go into housing.”

Unlike most homeless shelters on Oahu, Hale Mauliola allows couples to live together and residents to own pets. It provides parking space for those who live in their cars. The alternative policies are intended to reduce barriers for entry into shelters, as hindrances such as the inability to bring pets often turn off homeless individuals.

There are also a few other “homey” touches, including Wi-Fi internet, landscaping, a barbecue area and picnic tables. The Central Hale tent where Monday’s blessing was held is a place for residents to socialize. Daily meals, phone and mail service as well as 24/7 security are also a part of the amenities.

An array of homeless services is available to residents such as employment support services, housing placement assistance, case management, health and behavioral services, and even pet screenings and resources through the Hawaiian Humane Society….

read … About a Plan which the Homelessness Industry Fought Tooth and Nail

Martin: I want massive Seattle-Style Homeless Tent City on North Shore Where There is Lots of Copper

SA: …An idea to establish Seattle-like, government-sanctioned tent cities on Oahu gained traction last year after another set of Council members visited Seattle. That group included Chairman Ernie Martin, who wants to see the first tent city go up in his Central Oahu-North Shore district.

During a five-day trip last week, Council members Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi took a look at King County’s DESC Crisis Solutions Center, which they toured with Councilman Ron Menor….

Following the earlier trip to Seattle, which included two other Council members, Seattle’s concept of so-called “hygiene centers” became closer to reality last week when Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the city’s purchase of a four-story building in Iwilei that homeless people will use to take showers, wash their clothes and get social service help buy meth with copper. They even will be able to live shoot up in studio apartments upstairs….

Reality for those who can handle it: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Festering

‘Frivolous’ GOP Ballot Challenge Against Sen Thielen Dismissed

CB: …Fifteen verified signatures are required for nomination papers; 17 signatures were initially verified for Thielen, but Rohlfing said the actually count should be 14, thus making her ineligible to run.

Judge Jeannette Castagnetti determined state law does not penalize voters who print a reasonable variation of their legal names such as using a middle initial instead of a full name.

“It’s notable that the judge’s order detailed how Mr. Rohlfing’s complaint was not filed in accordance with court rules, that the ‘return of service’ was not filed properly, that Rohlfing misspelled one of the nominating parties’ names in his complaint, and that he failed to timely correct his errors with the court,” said Thielen. “The irony would be funny, but for the fact that Mr. Rohlfing is attempting to disenfranchise voters and is wasting the court’s time on frivolous charges.”….

Background: FULL TEXT: State GOP Files Challenge to Sen Laura Thielen Nomination Papers

read … Dismissed

Assistant chief files lawsuit against Kauai Police Department

KHON: …The civil court filing by assistant chief Mark Begley claims he was harassed and intimidated for following department procedures after a female officer accused another assistant chief of inappropriate behavior….

KGI: Assistant police chief files suit

read … Retaliation

Another Hi Tech Media Darling Goes Bust: Self Dealer Flees, Takes Half of MBloom With Him

PBN: Arben Kryeziu, the manager of Maui-based venture capital fund mbloom, has resigned, and a new fund called Reef Capital Ventures has been created in its place….  (Translation: Something really strange has happened at MBloom, but we at PBN don’t want you to notice so we are acting as if the departure of an exec normally leads to the creation of a new corporate entity.)

When mbloom was formed, it was from a public-private partnership with the HSDC and hedge fund RSTP Capital. For the first fund, mbloom1, HSDC committed $5 million and RSTP another $5 million. Primiano said HSDC will be the sole remaining partner of the fund….  (Translation: RSTP website is defunct.  50% of value is destroyed.  Funny how PBN just can’t say this.  Question: Did Kryeziu take down—or just take--50% of MBloom when his Code Rebel went BK???)

Kryeziu, who has since changed his last name to Kane, has been in the spotlight in the past few months. One of his companies, Maui-based Code Rebel, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation at the end of May. Investors have filed a class action lawsuit against the company seeking monetary damages for investments they claim were made based on false and/or misleading statements.

In 2014, mbloom was also embroiled in controversy as two of the companies it invested in were founded by the fund’s general partners, including Kryeziu….

read … Status Quo

Other states join Hawaii in banning noncompete agreements

NYT: …an estimated 30 million Americans — nearly one-fifth of the nation’s workforce — are hobbled by so-called noncompete agreements, fine print in their employment contracts that keeps them from working for corporate rivals in their next job.

Now a number of states are looking to untangle workers from these agreements. The Massachusetts House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on a noncompete reform bill. The state is also the location of a union organizing campaign on the noncompete practices of the EMC Corp., a large technology company based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, that is known for its aggressive application of these employment contracts.

Other states are also taking steps as noncompete agreements have spread to summer interns and sandwich shop employees. Hawaii banned noncompete agreements for technology jobs last year, while New Mexico passed a law prohibiting noncompetes for health care workers. And Oregon and Utah have limited the duration of noncompete arrangements.

At the federal level, the White House published a report on noncompete contracts in May that concluded “noncompetes can impose substantial costs on workers, consumers and the economy more generally.” The Treasury Department also issued a report this year criticizing the excessive use of the contracts….

read … Noncompete

Medical Board takes 2-1/2 years to revoke license of dope doctor

ILind: …In November 2013 California revoked Susott’s license for gross incompetence, unprofessional conduct and dishonesty after investigators discovered he was recommending medical marijuana without adequately examining patients or taking medical histories, according to Medical Board of California documents. He sometimes approved medical marijuana from Hawaii, even though the patients were in California, the records said.

At one medical marijuana event in the Bay Area, Susott saw 254 patients over two days, checked hearts and lungs by looking at the patients and recommended marijuana in all cases, the records show….

read … Medical Board takes 2-1/2 years to revoke license of controversial doctor

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