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Friday, July 1, 2016
July 1, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 4969 Views

Russia to launch ‘Monster’ ICBM towards Hawaii

Ige Signs Cool Schools, Water Bills

Tourism: Visitors Up, Spending Down

Why are there no mobile home parks in Hawaii?

Hawaii Supreme Court Clarifies Appeals Clock

Senate President to Sue Governor in Desperate Bid to Let Old Boys Cash Out of HECO

KHON: …The governor appointed Wednesday Thomas Gorak to the Public Utilities Commission, a move that he said got the okay from the attorney general.

Critics still aren’t sure it’s legal.

Key senators say they’re mulling legal options because it is being done without Senate confirmation….

the Senate is getting legal counsel on whether it can be blocked at the Circuit Court or directly to the Hawaii Supreme Court level.

“We just want to be sure that anyone who is going to sit on the decision as big as the NextEra decision meets all of the legal requirements,” said Senate president Ron Kouchi. “One remedy is simply to have the courts make a determination.”

(Translation: The old boys want to sell their bastion of power to a FL company and I want to help them.)

The governor got an attorney general opinion a few days ago clearing the move, though even the opinion does warn the governor the appointment could face a legal challenge because there’s not yet a case precedent about any holdovers versus interim appointments.

What hangs in the balance is the biggest-stakes docket the PUC has ever had….

(Translation: Inouye is dead, we’d rather take the money and run than stay around to hold onto the levers of power.)

read … Lawsuit

Honolulu goes from Go Rail to Stop Rail to Try Wait Rail

Borreca: …the city’s rail plan has gone not just off budget and into overtime, but is so far into the weeds that it will need a whole new train track to find its way back.

On June 14, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell was on morning television praising his plans for rail, adding, “It is important that we stay the course; it is easy to cut and run.”

Two days later, Caldwell appeared before the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to say while he wanted rail to go to Ala Moana and would work for a rail to Ala Moana, there was only money to go to Middle Street and that was where we were going.

And now, Caldwell says not only do we not have enough money to build the rail system, he doesn’t have enough time to come up with a plan that the Federal Transit Administration would bless by its Aug. 7 deadline. Caldwell is asking the FTA if he can take up to 10 months to figure out what to do next.

So Honolulu went from Go Rail, to Stop Rail to Try Wait Rail.

Asked about the changes, one of Caldwell’s opponents, former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, dubbed it “simply irresponsible.”

“The Honolulu rail transit program has become one of the most over-budget, behind-schedule and mismanaged projects in American history,” said Djou.

The deadline extension Caldwell wants is for a “recovery plan” explaining to the federal government why the rail project is so off target and how the city will fix it. Over 25 years, the FTA has put up money 90 times for what is called Full Funding Grant Agreements. Only 10 have required recovery plans.

Djou is consistent in saying he won’t spend any more money for a rail system, but is not offering (limiting himself to) one specific solution….

read … Try Wait

Council Crisis Center Modeled on Seattle Program Specifically Designed to Support Homeless Tent Cities

HNN: …Several Honolulu City Council members are supporting the creation of a new center in Honolulu that would treat homeless people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.

The "crisis solution center" would be modeled after a similar program (announced by Seattle Mayor in January and therefore unproven) in Seattle, and would potentially divert chronically homeless people from jails and emergency rooms.  (Seattle is modeled on San Francisco program designed to help keep homeless people comfy in massive festering homeless tent cities, thus making it harder to force them to accept shelter.)

Councilman Ron Menor said the center would address a dearth of available bed space for psychiatric patients in hospitals.

At the Seattle facility, patients are accepted 24 hours a day and can stay up 72 hours. …

The city has budgeted $20 million for homeless solutions. The money becomes available July 1 and is to be divided equally among the nine districts.

City Council members have different ideas for how spend the appropriation.

Councilman Joey Manahan wants to use some of it to construct a temporary hygiene center and encampment in his district. He says a state-owned property near Aala Park is a possible site.

"Most immediately if we can get the Porta Potties supervised with some outreach services up and running I think that would help a lot," Manahan said.

Meanwhile, Menor was impressed by a village made up of tiny houses in Seattle. His hope is to have something similar in his district (bullshit).

"I think this would be a more effective and humane way of addressing homeless in the short term as opposed to the tent encampments," he said, lying through his teeth.  (Translation: There will be massive festering homeless tent cities everywhere and this center will help them to stay homeless)….

read … Crisis

SB2559: Homeless Shelters Say Bill May Cut 200 Beds

CB: Despite rising homelessness in Hawaii, a bill that’s on track to become law may force emergency homeless shelters to cut more than 200 beds and turn away people who want to get off the streets.

The Legislature passed Senate Bill 2559 in May, which seeks to make shelters more effective by mandating that they submit to annual financial audits, among other requirements.

The most contentious aspect of the measure is a requirement for each emergency shelter to have a “partitioned space” for each homeless family or individual.

The idea is to decrease shelter vacancy rates and encourage more people to get off the streets by giving them more privacy. Currently several shelters, including the Institute for Human Services, supply bunk beds or floor mats in large rooms rather than individual cubicles.

Given the cost of putting up partitions and limited space in existing facilities, a coalition of homeless service providers called Partners in Care sent Gov. David Ige a letter urging him to veto the measure and saying it could force shelters to eliminate over 200 beds.

But the bill didn’t appear on the list released this week of measures that Ige intends to veto. The governor said in a statement Thursday that because the bill wouldn’t go into effect for another year, the state has time to work with service providers to determine appropriate standards and address their concerns….

read … SB2559

Mayor Arakawa -- Housing First on Maui

MN: …Their point was that we should not be providing housing for homeless individuals who are still addicted to drugs, and that the addiction should be addressed before the housing.

I can see why some people think that way. Many of those suffering from drug addiction are incapable of caring for themselves. But the community should understand that housing will not be provided in a vacuum and that nonprofits and service providers will still be working with their clients, they'll just be in a better setting.

Consider this: Instead of trying to help a homeless person overcome drug addiction at a beach campsite or in their lean-to shack in the brush, service providers will be able to provide help in a safe and secure location. This will benefit both the homeless client and the service worker, who doesn't have to worry about dangerous settings.

Studies have shown again and again that if you provide a safe and secure place for individuals and families to sleep at night, you give them more of a sense of autonomy, choice and control, resulting in greater stability.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, communities that provide this sort of secure housing to their homeless population see a cost savings because housed people are less likely to use emergency services, including hospitals, jails and emergency shelters. Also, they are more likely to participate in job training programs, attend school, discontinue substance abuse, have fewer instances of domestic violence and spend fewer days hospitalized.

Richard Cho, behavioral health director for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, sums up the Housing First initiative very well: "Housing First is about health, recovery and well-being. Housing itself is the foundation and platform for achieving these goals."

read … Maui Positive News

Anderson Out As Vice Chair

CB: Ikaika Anderson will be leaving his post as vice chair of the Honolulu City Council.

Council members are scheduled to vote next week on a resolution that would replace him with Councilman Joey Manahan from Kalihi.

“It’s been made apparent that members want a change, and I am a team player and I am absolutely OK with that,” Anderson said.

Anderson wants Kymberly Pine to take his place. 

“I would like to see someone who is strong and independent, and who is a veteran who has a wealth of experience and knowledge, and to me that is Kymberly Pine,” he said.

But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. A resolution that would give Pine the job isn’t included on the agenda for Wednesday.…

read … Out

OHA CEO Crabbe Reappointed

CB: Kamana Ľopono Crabbe, the CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, received a new three-year contract Thursday.

An ad hoc committee has been created to work out the details of the contract.

Board Chair Robert Lindsey Jr. said, “For the board, the decision, on large part, reflects a commitment to providing OHA employees with stable leadership at the top. The most important decision we make for this organization is selecting its CEO. Our hope is that this decision inspires the confidence and support of our employees and beneficiaries.”

Crabbe has served as OHA CEO (Ka Pouhana) since January 2012….

read … Psycho

State representatives who had the best, worst attendance

KHON: KHON2 found out the lawmakers who had the most full-day absences during the session of 60 days: Rep. Sam Kong, D, Aiea, with 12 days; Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R, Kailua, Kaneohe Bay with 11; and Rep. Marcus Oshiro, D, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village with nine….

Out of the 51 state representatives, 19 had perfect attendance, including some lawmakers from the Neighbor Islands….

PDF: Click here to see the attendance of state representatives.

read … Best, Worst

Hawaii County Council candidate delinquent on taxes

HTH: Jen Ruggles, a candidate for Hawaii County Council, says she paid a delinquent $379.44 property tax bill Thursday after a reporter inquired about missed payments during the past two years.

The 27-year-old Mountain View resident purchased the forested 2-acre lot in Fern Acres with three siblings for $12,000 at a property tax auction in 2008, according to a tax deed and the county’s online property records….

Additionally, the Orchid Street property has a lien for unpaid fees to the Fern Acres Community Association.

A notice of lien on the property said $1,036.62 was owed to the association in 2015, according to the state’s Office of Assistant Registrar. That’s down from $1,574.69 in 2013.

Ruggles said paying the association fees was the responsibility of her father, longtime marijuana activist (convicted drug dealer) Michael Ruggles….

County records show $2,125.57 owed in property taxes for the Pikake Street home Michael Ruggles jointly owns with three other people. Missed payments also started in 2014.

The association placed a lien on that property in 2014 for unpaid fees totaling $2,086.28. Another lien notice issued in 2015 said the owners owed $1,551.94….

read … Juvenile, Delinquent

Hawaii AG Appeals DHHL Case

CB: A circuit court’s decision in Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission determined that the state should give the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands “sufficient funds.” …

The AG’s office said in a press release Thursday that the legal appeal “does not impact these appropriations and it does not stop DHHL from spending this money.”

But the AG clearly wants another day in court.

“The circuit court decision raised important policy and constitutional issues,” Chin said in a statement. “These included questions about separation of powers and questions about what expenses are appropriately included in DHHL’s administration and operating budget pursuant to the state Constitution. Some believe this year’s appropriation is too much, while others feel it is still not enough.”

Chin concluded: “A decision from the state Supreme Court should help provide more direction in future years, and may avoid more lawsuits down the road.”

read … DHHL

Supreme Court: Only Police Commission Can Suspend Chief

CB: The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that only the Kauai Police Commission has the authority to suspend the police chief….

The Supreme Court sided with the commissioners Thursday in a ruling that reaffirmed that the mayor cannot suspend a police chief under county law.

Some on Oahu had been watching the case closely in light of Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s own troubles with the law….

read … Commission

Hawaii missing out on $100M in taxes from illegal vacation rentals

HNN: According to experts, the illegal rentals translate into more than $100 million in uncollected transient accommodation taxes.

"There's a tremendous amount of uncollected tax dollars," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association. "I estimate the TAT alone is $100 million uncollected annually."

About one quarter of the state's total lodging inventory is made up by vacation rentals, most of which are operated without the proper government approvals, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Officials say it's not clear how many of the unpermitted rentals are paying taxes.

Earlier this week, Gov. David Ige indicated his intention to veto a bill that would have required sites like Airbnb or VRBO to collect and pay taxes on behalf of hosts who list their properties.

"We are very much concerned about what the unintended consequences of this measure would be," Ige said, during a news conference Monday.

The governor has until July 12 to reconsider, but he cited several concerns, specifically that it could hinder efforts to identify and cite the owners and operators of illegal vacation rentals….

read … $100M

Coral Disease Caused by Illegal TVR Cesspools Used by Vacationing Environmentalists

KGI: Human activities can impact reef health, making it less resilient, according to a recent study conducted by researchers with The Nature Conservancy, and Kauai-based marine biologist Katie Muzik thinks that’s the case on the island.

“I would say the cesspools on Kauai have an impact on the reefs because the hormones and chemicals from them travel into the ocean and affect all the sealife in ways we don’t even know about yet,” Muzik said. “Of course these other factors, like sediment and bleaching, have an effect as well.”

According to the state department of health, cesspools concentrate the wastewater in one location, often deep within the ground and in direct contact with groundwater, causing groundwater contamination….

read … Enviros Source of Problem

20% Rise in shoplifting tied to ban on plastic bags

SA: A year after Oahu’s single-use plastic bag ban took effect July 1, 2015, prices have increased, and shoplifting is on the rise as thieves find more ways to walk out of stores without paying for their goods.

“People walk in with their bags, and they put their things in their bags and it’s very difficult for people to tell whether the product was purchased,” said Lauren Zirbel, executive director of the Hawaii Food Industry Association. “Sometimes people will just go in and put products directly in bags, and sometimes loss prevention personnel can’t get everybody. It’s really difficult because you can’t chase people down. It’s a pretty big issue.”

Tamura Enterprises Inc. has experienced a 15 to 20 percent increase in theft over the past year since the prohibition on plastic bags began….

(Another reason for the homeless to move to Hawaii.)

Aside from theft, retailers have seen a dramatic increase in their bag expenses, a cost that is passed on to consumers, Zirbel said. Retailers using paper bags are paying as much as 28 cents per bag, substantially more than the 1 to 3 cents for plastic bags….

One of the large supermarkets saw a 92 percent increase in bag expense….

KITV: Enviros Want Tougher Bag Ban

read … Thank an Environmentalist

Contractor selected to modernize state’s antiquated payroll system

KHON: …a lot of the payroll was still being done manually on paper, not electronically.

The state announced Wednesday it selected CherryRoad Technologies Inc. to modernize payroll and time and attendance systems to provide greater functionality and efficiencies in serving more than 75,000 full- and part-time employees statewide.

The notice of award for the contract includes $16.7 million for implementation.

“The current payroll and time and attendance system was built more than 40 years ago and has become very difficult to maintain,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are taking on the challenge of replacing the system in order to create a more efficient and effective government for Hawaii’s taxpayers and our state employees.”

Work is expected to begin this summer and take about 18 months. Under the proposal, payroll will be modernized first, followed by time and attendance….

PDF: Click here for more information.

read … Contractor

Civil rights lawsuit aims to keep elderly couple together in Assisted Living Home

KHON: The fight continues for an elderly couple forced to live apart during their final years.

Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto were staying at an assisted living facility when his health started to deteriorate.

Because he needs constant care, he’s now living in a care home in Kaneohe, but state law prevents his wife from joining him.

Hawaii state law limits community care foster family homes, which are two- or three-bed nursing facilities that provide 24-hour care to resident patients, to just one non-Medicaid patient per home. Because the Kawamotos are not Medicaid patients, the facility was only able to take Noboru.

There had been numerous failed attempts to change the law, so now the Kawamotos are taking legal action….

The lawsuit alleges the Kawamotos’ fundamental right to family integrity is being violated, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution….

read … Civil rights lawsuit aims to keep elderly couple together

Honolulu drivers 137th in nationwide ranking

KHON: … last year the city ranked 150 out of 200.

Allstate says the average driver in Honolulu gets into a crash every 8.4 years.

So which city fared the best? Brownsville, Texas was deemed safest….

LINK: America’s Best Drivers

read … 135th

Five Zika Cases in Hawaii So Far

HNN: …Health officials say there are no Chinkungunya cases in Hawaii right now.

There have been 10 dengue and five Zika cases in the past six months, but all the patients contracted the viruses overseas.

To learn more, go to www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com….

Remember who is at Fault When this Finally Starts Spreading: Organic Farmers Thwart Tropical Disease Eradication Efforts

read … Zika Coming

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