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Friday, September 23, 2016
September 23, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:21 PM :: 6349 Views

FULL TEXT: Interior Dep't Final Rule for Fake Native Hawaiian Indian Tribe

The State is a Terrible Farmer...and Businessperson

Djou, Savio: City Still Failing on Affordable Housing

Fitch: GEMS are 'Outstanding' Because of Built-In Rate Hike Mechanism

Unions Wreck Maui Memorial Hospital Before Turning it Over

MN: Just what exactly is going to be left of Maui Memorial Medical Center when it is finally transitioned into being operated by Kaiser? ….

Chumbley said that the board will be looking at options to cope with the estimated $25 million deficit the Maui Region is facing in this fiscal year.

Those options undoubtedly mean service cuts. We fear that the gains MMMC has made in the last decade are going to be unraveled.

The transition to a public-private partnership was designed to protect and grow our medical facilities and services. So far, it has been a fiasco that promises to do just the opposite.

It's time for the governor, the labor unions and Kaiser to get together and save our medical services on Maui.

read … Worries about our hospital

State’s budget surplus could evaporate quickly

Borreca: …What is happening, Luke said, is that everyone keeps referring back to the Gov. David Ige administration announcement that the state was packing a $1 billion surplus.

“This is what the previous administration also bragged about and it is something that existed on Day One of June 2016,” Luke said.

Since then, the Liliha Democrat said, much of the surplus has already been spoken for. In other words, plans to spend cash instead of bonds for state construction projects and plans to increase the payout for unfunded liabilities are already gnawing away at that surplus.

“It gives a very false sense of where the economy and state are. We don’t want to give the impression that there is all this money,” Luke said.

If there is money to be spent, Luke said it should go for one-time purchases such as attacking the $500 million repair bill at the University of Hawaii and should not go to launch new programs.

“When we get into session, I want to dispel the notion that we have $1 billion,” she said.

To help with that, the Council on Revenues’ latest report also notes that a series of tax credits and law changes from the last legislative session will add up to a loss of at least $19 million next year and much more in the future.

Finally, waiting in the wings are the still-unknown collective bargaining costs: the amount of money needed for the expected public worker pay increases.

Luke said it is expected that Ige will be agreeable to some increase, describing it as something “that is not likely to break the bank.” ….

Related: Slom: $1B Surplus is an Illusion

read … State’s budget surplus could evaporate quickly

Kenoi to Planners: “Shut the F*** Up or I knock you out”

CB: The mayor of Hawaii County, who is accused of buying booze and other items with taxpayer money, appears to be heavily intoxicated….

The conference was sponsored by some major corporations who do business in the state, including Kaiser Permanente, D.R. Horton Hawaii, Alexander & Baldwin, Kamehameha Schools and R.M Towill Corp.

Featured speakers at the conference, titled “The Tao of Planning,” included Ron Sims, a former deputy secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development; Scott Enright, chair of the state Board of Agriculture; Ed Sniffen, deputy director of highways for the state Department of Transportation; Bonnie Arakawa, community planning chief for Honolulu; and Alan Takemoto, community affairs manager for Monsanto.

Also on the agenda: Pau Hana Popcorn and Libations, Casino and Karaoke Night, Yoga with Duke Nakamatsu and a Na Pali Boat Tour (“$100 including transportation, boat tour, snorkel equipment, floatation devices, snacks, lunch, and drinks. Towels will be provided as well”).

There was also a giveaway contest of three Apple Watches or a two-night stay at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

Speakers and presenters were to receive Kauai-made “mahalo items” courtesy of companies like the Koloa Rum Company, a distillery.

The hospitality suite gathering followed a reception at the hotel’s grand ballroom.

“Put on your dance shoes and fellowship with our planner brothers and sisters as we libate and celebrate the mother of modern participatory planning!” the conference program stated….

read … Kenoi

HDP Scandal Grows – Feds Looking into Another Alleged Kealoha Scam

HNN: Gerard Puana's appearance before a federal grand jury is a significant development in the case, experts say….

Meanwhile, Hawaii News Now has learned of a new twist in the case: Prosecutors might be looking into separate allegations against Katherine Kealoha.

A brother and sister, both relatives of Kealoha, were at the federal courthouse on a previous grand jury day.

Court documents show their family got a malpractice settlement years ago, when they were still children, and that it was put in a trust fund.

The documents show Kealoha petitioned to be the trustee until they became adults, when the money was supposed to be turned over to them.

Their appearances at federal court shows the FBI is also looking into that trust.

"What you're starting to see is a pattern here," Bakke said. "Using her professional status whether it's as a private attorney or a deputy prosecutor to influence other people."

SA: Newest member of Honolulu Police Commission makes headlines with outspoken views

read … Man who triggered FBI probe into HPD chief goes before grand jury

Jail Project Already Producing Millions in White Collar Make-Work

SA: It started off last legislative session with Gov. David Ige’s $489.3 million grand plan to build a new Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) on the grounds of the existing Halawa prison.

But when state lawmakers balked, they instead threw the Ige administration a $5 million bone to study “possible sites” for construction of a new OCCC. What wasn’t shared publicly at the time was that a $5 million contract had already been signed on April 18 with Architects Hawaii Ltd. to study the relocation of OCCC with funds from a 2014 appropriation.

It’s unclear why a second appropriation for $5 million to study the same issue was approved this spring. The dubious repeat appropriation needs further examination, and the state Depart- ment of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) confirmed Thursday it will not seek release of the $5 million for a second OCCC study until the department has a more complete definition of the proposed study’s parameters….

The OCCC relocation issue highlights a disjointed system of commissioning studies — one in which lawmakers authorize the study and decide the amount to spend without researching how much it will actually cost. Further, the parameters of the study are not specified until long after the legislative session.

In June, after the Legislature appropriated the second $5 million to study “possible sites” for OCCC, no lawmaker or administrator was able to tell the Star-Advertiser what exactly was being studied. Today, DAGS is not comfortable releasing those funds — and with good reason, if there is no clear mission….

Architects Hawaii has scheduled a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Farrington High School to hear from the community about possible new locations for OCCC as part of the environmental review process….

In the Star-Advertiser’s June story about the questionable $5 million study, Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai) was critical of the Legislature’s practice of funding studies without having a “clear plan with boundaries and options.”

It’s a system that taxpayers should question and press lawmakers for answers. Commissioning studies for the sake of creating busy work for isle consultants is a practice the state can ill-afford.

(But it generates campaign contributions.)

read … Get clarity on prison, jail goals

Affordable Housing?

Cars, bikes and even a boat clog Homeless Camp under Nimitz Hwy

HNN: …Outreach workers estimate close to 200 people live under the system of bridges.

"They are very service-resistant," Philips said. "They've been offered opportunities for housing. We have one lady who's been down there 21 years. I would say they're very comfortable."

From the road, at least a half dozen vehicles can be spotted under the Airport Viaduct. Most were parked at homeless encampments.

There were also plenty of bikes and mopeds.

But it's a boat situated next to a cardboard shelter that's causing the most buzz….

In July, the Ige administration set aside nearly $2 million to clean up trash left behind by homeless people living on state land….

read … Shiny New Speedboat

Gas tax better for Environment than mileage tax

SA: …The proposed formula of paying based on number of miles driven totally destroys the incentive to drive fuel-efficient cars.

The driver with the 40-miles-per-gallon car would pay the same amount of tax as the gas-eating 10-mile-per-gallon monster for driving the same 100 miles.

This is the exact opposite of what we want to encourage for the sake of our environment….

WHT: Hawaii pilot program looks at charging people for miles driven as opposed to taxing gas

read … Anti-Environment

Unintended Consequences of Anti-Dairy Farm Protests

KE: The Grove Farm road that allows public access to Mahaulepu beach will be closed for two months during bacterial studies in the Waiopili Ditch and Poipu-Koloa watershed area, the state Department of Health announced yesterday.

The news comes as no surprise — DOH indicated last May a beach closure was likely, though the proposal then was for four months this past summer. Now it's Sept. 26 to Nov. 30.

Nor is it any surprise that Friends of Mahaulepu and Surfrider are desperately trying to distance themselves from the action their endless complaints precipitated. As The Garden Island reports, “some locals” — FOM's Bridget Hammerquist and Surfrider's Carl Berg — “are questioning the motives” of DOH.

Yes, we understand Surfrider and FOM don't want to take any heat for being responsible for the lengthy closure of a popular beach. And we realize their real agenda has always been stopping the proposed dairy, not protecting public health.

But when you've been publicly bitching for months about how DOH is falling down on the job and Grove Farm is allowing its tenants to pollute the wai and kai, it rings a bit hollow when you start to question why DOH and GF are now doing exactly what you've been screaming at them to do: accurately determine the cause of high bacteria counts at Waiopili.

The beach closure is yet another example of the “unintended consequences” of activism by groups eager to target any possible source of pollution — save for tourism, and themselves….

KGI: Access denied

read … Musings: Kick 'Em

Maui Tomorrow Helps HIDOT Plan to Cut off Lahaina from Rest of Island

MN: …It's right there near Olowalu where the highway is right along the water and the concrete barriers separate cars, bikers and passers-by from the Pacific Ocean. That part of the roadway is eroding quickly, and the state has been working for some time in trying to avoid the highway from being swept off into the ocean.

It seems only logical that the state Department of Transportation should be concerned that the only major highway in and out of the west side could collapse and fall into the ocean. The department investigated and concluded that the best thing to do would be to harden the shore to avoid further erosion; that starts with putting a large buffer of boulders on the shore and out into the ocean followed by a massive seawall to protect the highway.

The project would certainly slow the ocean's erosion of the shoreline, but it was unclear what effect it would have on the ocean itself. That's when the Maui Tomorrow Foundation came into play.

The environmentalist group filed a lawsuit last month against the state, alleging that the seawall project would have detrimental effects on the ocean life near the coast. Three named plaintiffs in the lawsuit along with Maui Tomorrow claimed to have seen the rare Hawaiian monk seal near the project site. If that's the case, then the habitat of perhaps one of the rarest sea creatures in the world is in danger.

Now, lawsuits like this aren't new for Hawaii. For as long as I can remember, there have been movements and causes to save something. (In fact, that was a commonly seen bumper sticker when I was in high school.) Complaints from groups like Maui Tomorrow, are filed with a disturbing degree of regularity. Members of the community through these groups are often pitted against the government, private developers and other big-time stakeholders.

As expected, this summer saw public demonstrations against the project. Seawalls were villainized by roadside sign wavers. The demonstrations slowed the already despised traffic going in and out of Lahaina. Folks started to take notice. One of the frustrated commuters was West Maui state Rep. Angus McKelvey. Both McKelvey and Maui County Council Member Don Couch urged the governor to hold off on the boulders and rethink the project.

It worked. This week, the Department of Transportation announced that the project was shelved for effectively another three years. The road will be drawn away from the shoreline, and folks will go back to the drawing board to figure out a long-term plan. Environmentalists were excited. Maui Tomorrow agreed to drop the lawsuit.

read … Gimme $800M or Else!

This is the Beginning: Old Heiau Stones Create new Claim on Property

HTH: …Knowledge of the stones is “based on oral history and some written literature rather than archaeology,” Yent said in an email to the Tribune-Herald.

The Kuaka‘ananu‘u Heiau was 60 feet tall and built in a pyramid shape. It was desecrated in the early 1800s — the culprits are unknown, Napeahi said. According to state historical records, it was dismantled by Capt. Thomas Spencer of ‘Amauulu Sugar Plantation in the 1860s to build a wharf.

Some stones also were used as filler for the landing near Liliuokalani Gardens, where Hilo Bay Cafe is currently located, Napeahi said.

But the 23 stones from the middle chamber of Kuaka‘ananu‘u were moved to land owned by David Napeahi, Terri Napeahi’s great-grandfather, where they stayed for the next 200 years. It’s unknown how the stones were first moved, Napeahi said.

She became interested in the stones at a young age, after seeing an old photograph of her great-grandfather and her great-great-grandfather, George Kahilihiwa Kekaula, posing in front of what Napeahi said she later identified as the central heiau stone.

Years later, using old property maps, land transfer records and the writings of Theodore Kelsey, who took the original photograph of Napeahi’s relatives, Napeahi was able to determine the heiau stones were located near the boat landing. The verification process took about 10 years, she said.

In the past year, the stones were moved from their second home to beneath the banyan tree as part of a Hilo harbors project, at which point Napeahi said work with the state to protect them from further transport began in earnest.

Yent said heiau stones being removed and used for construction projects was once “a common occurrence” in Hawaii, particularly in the latter part of the 1800s.

“We rarely know exactly where the stones went,” she said….

read … ‘This is the beginning’; Woman’s detective work leads to boulders being ID’d as stones from Kuaka‘ananu‘u Heiau

Ex-officer’s assault case set for trial

WHT: …Other officers testified they had to support Myhre as Smith led them toward the car, which was about 100 feet away.

“At this point we were trying to hold him back from falling down because Officer Smith was basically dragging him, at a fast pace. So we were trying to hold him up so he doesn’t fall on his face,” testified Uehana during an earlier grand jury hearing.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Kuanoe Jackson asked what Myhre was doing during this time.

“Just stay on my feet as best I could. My socks were getting ripped off my feet on the pavement,” he replied.

Then Smith ran Myhre’s head into the door of the vehicle and smashed him into the car, Myhre said.

Gaspar said he rushed to the front to unlock the rear door and saw Smith slam Myhre against the vehicle. When the door was open, Smith allegedly pushed Myhre backside first.

“He was screaming stuff like, ‘you don’t belong in Ocean View. Go back to Puna you stupid haole,’ things like that,” Gaspar testified.

The defense attempted to have the unlawful entry charge dismissed, arguing that as an off-duty officer directed by an on-duty officer to secure a suspect, it was appropriate for Smith to enter the vehicle.

Gaspar testified it appeared Smith opened the door later, entered the car and assaulted Myhre when Gaspar and Uehara went to continue the investigation. Smith is no longer a Hawaii police officer although reasons for his departure weren’t known Thursday.

Court records show that Myhre ultimately pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree criminal trespass, possession of burglar’s tools and fourth-degree criminal property damage. He pleaded Jan. 16, 2014, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Most fines and fees were waived by Judge Joseph Florendo, Jr., due to Myhre’s indigence.

read … Ex-officer’s assault case set for trial

Stop Zika before it gets a foothold in Hawaii

MN: …Here in Hawaii, 11 confirmed Zika cases have been diagnosed in people who caught it during travel to other countries. If the virus is allowed to spread unchecked throughout our country, it could infect untold numbers of pregnant women, causing thousands of grievous birth defects.

We know what must be done. Our nation must accelerate education and prevention efforts to stop Zika from gaining a foothold in the U.S….

Related: Feds ‘Search for Solution to Hawaii’s Mosquito Problem’

read … Stop Zika before it gets a foothold in Hawaii

High-Tech Tax Credit Scammers Take the Money and Run—away from Hawaii

CB: Hawaii is a great place to begin, but founders of startups from the state have found they need to move if they want to grow….

read … Take the money and run

Legislative Races:



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