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Friday, March 10, 2017
March 10, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:17 PM :: 4313 Views

Hawaii V. Trump: A Legal Nothing-Burger

Hawaii v Trump V2—a $150K Photo–Op

Integrity: Castle Foundation Refusing to Pay for ‘Unfair’ DoE Superintendent Search

“Second home” tax may put affordable homes out of reach

HB790: Sue Farmers to Death

Hawaii Abortion Mandate Copies California Law -- Headed for Supreme Court Hearing

Full Text: Maui County State of the County Address

Judge rules in city’s favor on gambling device seizures

Rail: Compromised Staff and Vacant Diminished Management Lead to Cost Overruns “far above norms” 

CB: High turnover and distractions over old contract disputes are hampering Honolulu’s over-budget and behind-schedule rail project, according to a panel of independent transit experts commissioned to review the project’s management….

The panel noted that change orders for certain contracts have been far above industry norms. In the contract with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. to design and build the West Oahu-Farrington Highway section of guideway, for instance, change orders added up to 36 percent of the original contract value.

Likewise, change orders for the project’s maintenance and storage facility totaled 43 percent of the contract’s original price….

The panel said that HART’s high turnover rate “impacts project delivery. This often leads to key management positions that are vacant and working knowledge of past activities diminished.”

“Staff seems compromised in their ability to deliver the work going forward while also handling previous and outstanding issues resulting from past decisions,” the panel wrote….

it suggested that the rail project consider making employees, especially in critical positions, part of the civil service system instead of relying on one-year contracts that might impair recruitment and retention.

It also found contract cost overruns “far in excess of the normal industry standards,” attributing them not to current management but to “decisions made previously.”…

the staff has been reporting the amount the contractor claimed in cost overruns, HART’s counteroffer and the final negotiated amount.

“Our concern stems from contractors using this information to develop pricing and negotiation strategies that might work against the better interests of HART,” the report stated….

The review by the American Public Transportation Association was done at the behest of the Federal Transit Administration, which is contributing $1.55 billion to the rail project and has required the city to submit a plan for how it will deal with cost overruns and delays.

The HART board formally requested the review in September.

  • SA: Mainland hui doubts rail schedule, price tag  “HART’s Project Controls team, which aims to keep accurate tabs on rail’s cost and schedule, is “competent” but “does not have much depth based on (the) size and complexity of the project,” the reviewers found. The team should have more “experienced staff focused on scheduling, cost estimation and trend reporting,” according to the APTA report.”
  • PDF: APTA Peer Review Report

read … Experts Tell Honolulu Rail What Needs To Be Fixed

Ige: HART Should Explore Private Sector Funding

KHON: “I’ve expressed that I think we should explore private-sector participation to fund the project and then finally that the county ought to be looking at what funds they can add,” Ige said. “Most importantly, it’s really defining a project that we can afford based on the revenues and the funds available.”

The measure stands before the full Senate for a vote.

The current price tag of the rail project is nearly $10 billion.

read … Private Sector Funds.

Ige Casts Wide Net for the very best Darrel Galera for the job

Cataluna: Oh, all you doubters, you Negative Nellies, you disbelievers of the Ige abilities.

Imagine your chagrin when the exhaustive, nitpicky and completely unrigged search for a new superintendent of schools comes up with Darrel Galera as the best person for the job. You’ll be eating your words then, mark my words. And then eat those, too.

Just because Darrel Galera was principal when Dawn Ige was vice principal in those halcyon days at Moanalua High School doesn’t mean the fix is in for him. It has nothing to do with them being frenz from back in the day. It could have been anybody. Anybody in the whole country. Anybody in the whole world. Any Darrel Galera in the universe. Cannot help if Darrel Galera ends up being the very best Darrel Galera for the job.

And just because he has been gunning for the current superintendent’s head since 2014, was appointed by Ige to head his 2016 advisory team to overhaul the public schools and was named by the governor to a spot on the Board of Education just last fall (when BOE member Jim Williams quit because of Ige’s heavy-handed circumventing of the BOE’s role in setting policy for the schools) does not mean that he has some sort of inside track that leads directly to the superintendent’s job. Come on, people. That’s not how things work….

read … Wonders never cease when a wide net is cast

Lawyer Bills Hawaii $600/Hour to get More Muslims into Country

SA:Hawaii taxpayers are facing a legal bill of as much as $150,000 — and maybe more — to underwrite a campaign to topple President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.

To make its case in court, the state Attorney General’s Office has turned to a high-priced Washington, D.C., law firm where the top partner billing rate is reportedly $1,200 or more.

The good news, according to state Attorney General Doug Chin, is that the firm has offered to cut its rates in half.  (Working for only $600/hr!  What a hero!)

Even so, Chin said Thursday it would be unrealistic to think the state won’t be receiving a request for additional money….

Chin said the Hawaii team assigned to the case is “working with little sleep,” while the rest of the department is doing its job representing the people of Hawaii without skipping a beat. He said he continues to attend Cabinet meetings and oversee his staff.

“Nothing is on the back burner,” he said when asked whether other legal matters were being set aside for the effort….

However, Hawaii Republican leaders, including state party Chairman Fritz Rol-fing, said they think the effort is a misguided waste of state money.

“Calling this executive order a ‘Muslim ban’ is totally inaccurate,” Rolfing said in an email. “There is no religious test to enter this country. The six countries raise distinctive concerns about terrorism and cannot or will not adequately supply information on their own nationals.”

Rolfing, a Honolulu attorney, said the executive order is likely going to be upheld eventually, if not by the 9th Circuit Court, then almost certainly by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There are numerous things our attorney general could be doing to help Hawaii’s citizens than suing the president,” he said.

State Rep. Gene Ward, R-Hawaii Kai, said that while he is sympathetic with the plight of immigrants, he thinks the state is only inciting the Trump administration against Hawaii, a move that will further marginalize the state’s congressional delegation.

“Let’s allow the big states with more resources fight this issue,” Ward said in a press release. “My sense is that the people of Hawaii would rather see potholes fixed rather than trying to lead the nation against an executive order.”….

Video: Ouansafi Supports Suit

read … Worth It?

After 2 Months Toying With Anti-GMO Losers, HB790 Killed in Voice Vote

CB: Even though House Bill 790 had passed three House committees — a high hurdle — Majority Leader Scott Saiki called for the bill to be recommitted to one of those committees during a Thursday floor session.

That action was affirmed by a voice vote, making it difficult to know where individual members stood….  (Hahahahahaha, lolrotf!)

Ashley Lukens, director of Hawaii Center for Food Safety, said HB 790 was killed because House Consumer Protection Committee Chairman Angus McKelvey inserted language into the measure strengthening the restrictions that made it “too contentious” to cross over to the Senate….

(Translation: The Anti-GMO morons think they can win in the HD10 Dem Primary in 2018 and they need to paint McKelvey as a villain.  His crime, according to Lukens—giving us too much of what we want.)

Bennette Misalucha, executive director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, which represents seed companies like Monsanto (which is the devil in the eco religion), said the House did the right thing. She too watched the floor action from the gallery.

“At a time when the governor himself is asking for the state to double its food production, we are heartened that the representatives listened to the hundreds off farmers who called and really clamored for reason,” she said.

The author of HB 790, Rep. Chris Lee, could not be reached for comment….  (He knew it would end like this.)

In addition to the HCIA, the Hawaii Farm Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the seed industry opposed it.

“Reporting provisions requiring notifications for each application would be very onerous and difficult to carry out,” testified Warren Mayberry, DuPont Pioneer’s senior manager of government affairs. “Bill 790 would negatively impact integrated pest management practices on our farms that allow us to respond quickly and only as needed.”…

Still, Lukens of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety expressed hope that a third related measure might survive.  (Dream on.)

Senate Bill 778 would fund the implementation of recommendations of a joint fact-finding study group’s report on pesticide use by large agribusinesses on Kauai.

SB 778, which has a current “defective date” of 2092, now heads to the House. But it has been referred to two separate joint committees as well as House Finance — five committees total. They include McKelvey’s committee.

(Somebody should tell the anti-GMO morons that they never really had a chance.  The whole state is laughing at them.)

read … Glory Glory Hallelujah

Breaking, Faking News

KE: Today, there was good news: The House gave the antis a serious slap down in sending HB 790 — the anti-GMO bill masquerading as pesticide regulation — back to committee. And that means it's dead for the session — unless the antis resort to non-transparent dirty tricks, like the gut and replace tactic that led to the organic farming tax credit being passed last session.

Though Hawaii Center for Food Safety tried to shrug off the loss to “chem company influence,” the blame lies squarely on the antis' own shoulders. They pushed a poorly written, wildly overreaching bill that got small farmers legitimately riled up.

In future, Ashley Lukens and Gary Hooser might want to avoid gloating “we won” quite so early in the session. Because it ain't over until the governor signs it until law.

And there was also some WTF? news: The Environmental Protection Agency is actually going to investigate Earthjustice's totally bogus claim that the state Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corp. are discriminating against Native Hawaiians on Kauai and Molokai by leasing land to the seed companies, which are then supposedly poisoning them with pesticides.

Its decision has nothing to do with whether the claim has any merit, and was based solely on the fact that a written complaint was filed within 180 days of an alleged violation. But Earthjustice gets to use it to make big hay and headlines: EPA OPENS CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION OVER PESTICIDE USE IN HAWAI`I.

Though The Garden Island billed it as “breaking news,” it was actually just a regurgitation of the Earthjustice press release, replete with its poster child, Malia Chun, again using her poor kids to advance her deceptive agenda. Malia is still clinging to the claim that hair samples showed her kids had 32 pesticides. Except the pesticides found in the highest concentrations come from home use consumer products, not agriculture. And hair tests are dubious, anyway.

It's actually kind of amusing to see EJ claiming the seed industry's agricultural practices are discriminating against Hawaiians and violate their civil rights, considering how many kanaka gladly work for those companies

And I giggled a bit when I read Earthjustice actor attorney Paul Achitoff self-righteously sputter: “The spraying of toxic chemicals on and near Hawaii’s affluent neighborhoods would not be tolerated.”

Who the hell does he think is engaging the services of the pest control companies, and buying expensive homes near golf courses? And let's not forget that streams in the toney Honolulu neighborhood of Manoa had the highest pesticide levels in the state. Heck, the affluent neighborhoods are spraying toxic chemicals on themselves.

read … Musings: Breaking, Faking News

More Garbage Taxes: City wants to start charging for bulky item pickup

HNN: …The city said the fee is needed to offset costs, but the critics said it could lead to more illegal dumping.

"It already looks bad with all the bulky items laying out on the street because it's not always picked up on time," said Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox said some people will try to avoid the fee by dumping their bulky items in front of other people's homes. Or worse, they'll try will dump it on vacant land, he said.

"We will also see a lot of it dumped in the mountains, along the country roads and in vacant property," Cox said….

Right now, the city doesn't charge residents for trash pickup. But the mayor announced last week he wanted to start charging at least $10 a month for the service.

The package also includes a new $10 per cubic yard bulky item fee.

Residents would also have to schedule bulky item pickups in advance.

Kobayashi said residents don't want to see another fee hike.

"When is this going to end. What fee is next. That's what I'm really concerned about because people just can't afford it," she said.

The bill will likely be heard by the council in two weeks.

Big Q: What do you think about a proposed 10-cent fee for each bag given at the checkout counter?  (63% Say Leave Things as is)

read … More Garbage Taxes

Bills Will Free Hilo from DLNR

HTH: A package of eight intertwined bills (four in each legislative chamber) was introduced this session to help address what many say are the most pressing barriers to economic development in town: the impending expiration of state leases on land in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area and the month-to-month lease status of properties in the Banyan Drive area.

The KIA leases, issued by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources after the 1960 tsunami destroyed that part of Hilo, had a 55-year term that recently was extended to 2025. Per Hawaii Revised Statues, the leases will be auctioned off at the end of the term.

“That’s what we’re trying to avoid,” said state Sen. Kai Kahele, D-Hilo, during a community meeting Wednesday at the Grand Naniloa Hotel that drew more than 80 people. “We think our community is better than that.”

The bills would create a special community economic district in that part of town under the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which is part of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. There are three other community economic districts in the state, all on Oahu.

The measures also would amend Hawaii Revised Statutes to extend the leases themselves if lessees make substantial property improvements, and create a new redevelopment district on the Waiakea Peninsula.

Five of the eight bills crossed over last week and now await hearings.

“We just finished the second quarter,” Kahele said. “We’re in halftime right now.”

Mike Fujimoto, CEO of HPM Building Supply and a member of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, thanked people for coming out to the meeting.

“This will give Hilo a real opportunity to rebuild itself, to really take full advantage of what our public really needs, what our public wants, and we have a lot of energy that’s involved right now,” he said.

read … Bye Bye DLNR

Homeless and Rich: Alleged Drug Dealers Caught with $2000 Cash, Lots of Meth

WHT: …A two-month investigation into drug distribution and drug use at a homeless campsite in the Old Kona Airport Beach Park yielded two arrests and the seizure of drugs and cash, authorities said.

Michelle Wright, 43, and Samson Keanaaina, 53, both of Kailua-Kona, were taken into custody after a narcotics search warrant, executed by officers Wednesday morning, found 171.3 grams, more than 6.1 ounces, of suspected crystal methamphetamine, 45.5 grams of suspected marijuana, 0.4 grams of suspected black tar heroin, and numerous drug paraphernalia related to methamphetamine use and distribution.

Also recovered from the scene was $2,026 cash, which was seized for forfeiture.….

Charmaine Kamaka, parks and recreation director for Hawaii County, said she was glad the suspects were removed from the park.

“It will help us in our quest to relocate the homeless so that they can get the drug treatment or substance abuse treatment they need,” Kamaka said….

SA: New head of CCH tackles homelessness, immigration issues

read … Enough to Pay the Rent

Bedbugs and Other Bizarre claims add up in state payouts

KHON: …a UH Hilo student who got a $199.60 payment because her dorm was infested with bed bugs.

Finally, a patient at Maui Memorial Medical Center had dentures that disappeared. Those missing teeth took a big bite of your money at $3,250.

In addition to the 155 claims the state paid out, another 380 claims were denied and settled with no payout….

read … Bedbugs

Ige: Trump is Straightforward 

CB: … Ige described the meeting with Trump as “very good.”

“He is exactly like he appears, very straightforward and expresses interest in working with governors on behalf of the American people,” Ige said….

“I left the Capitol with the feeling that change will be slow to come, that there are lots of pronouncements by different people about significant changes to policy,” he said. “And I do think that the reality of governing, the reality of being able to get the Congress to pass law changes, the reality of repealing regulations will slow any specific impact on Hawaii.”

He also shrugged off concerns that Hawaii might face repercussions for being the first state to file a legal challenge to the administration’s new executive order on travel. …

read … Trump

Hawaii to benefit from Strong Trump Military

CB: U.S. military spending is on the rise, and Hawaii is likely to be a financial beneficiary, especially when it comes to expanded sea power.

A $578 billion defense bill, up $5 billion overall from last year, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday on a bipartisan vote of 371-48. It included a $7 billion boost in procurement specifically for fighter jets, ships and helicopters.

The smooth passage of the House’s defense bill came a week after President Donald Trump said he planned to bolster defense spending next year by $54 billion. He’s expected to issue his proposed budget within the next few weeks.

read … Strong Trump

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