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Tuesday, March 20, 2018
March 20, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:59 PM :: 4513 Views

Leaving GOP, Djou Eyes Council, Mayoral Races

Council Coup: Ernie Martin Chair Again

Grassroot: Bond plan for rail a bad sign for taxpayers, would violate city ordinance

Rate Hikes Coming: Ige Names Green Energy Maven to PUC

Hawaii Passed A Law Requiring Pro-Life Clinics To Promote Abortion. SCOTUS Is Poised To Strike It Down  

Hawaii Smallest Firearms Industry in USA

Hawaii 3rd-Least Federally Dependent State Government

Hawaii Counties Ranked by Health Indicators

FBI investigating Crabbe: 'public corruption, misappropriation' allegations at OHA

HNN: …HNN now has learned that the AG’s office has sent OHA a letter on Feb. 26, asking for thousands of pages of documents, including records of contracts issued by OHA and its for-profit subsidiaries dating back to 2012.

They’re also asking for nearly six years of OHA bank statements, records of credit card and check transactions, wire transfers and all information relating to OHA’s outside investments.

Only a small portion of the records involve actions taken by individual trustees. Most of the documents relate to actions taken by or approved by CEO Kamanao Crabbe and OHA’s top management, adding fuel to efforts to oust OHA's top executive.….

"I think the time has come to dismiss Kamanao Crabbe."

OHA's board will take up matter of Crabbe's contract during a meeting on Thursday. The agency declined comment.

Legal experts say they don’t expect OHA to immediately turn over the records or will ask investigators to narrow their request….

“Dan Ahuna is being investigated by the FBI.”

PDF: Dan Ahuna submits financial affidavit to Judge Kobayashi in effort to obtain federal public defender

Meanwhile: OHA Trustees to Discuss Firing Crabbe

read … State, FBI investigating 'public corruption, misappropriation' allegations at OHA

Caldwell Lying About Federal Ultimatum?

CB: …The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation doesn’t need that $44 million under its current cash flows, officials say. But rail’s partners at the Federal Transit Administration have insisted in private meetings that the city pay up anyway or risk losing its remaining $744 million in federal dollars, city leaders say…..

Pine…wanted to see the FTA’s ultimatum in writing. So far, the closest thing to that is a Feb. 23 letter that Caldwell sent to FTA officials summarizing what they told him….

read … Caldwell Lying

HB1727: $15 Minimum Wage or HGEA-Style Work Rules for Private Sector

HTH: Employers and employees will testify today regarding a controversial bill that would require employers in Hawaii to offer paid sick leave to employees.

House Bill 1727 would require employers to provide a certain amount of paid sick leave to their employees each year unless they pay employees more than the minimum wage….

The bill would require employers with more than 50 employees to allow workers to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours of work, with a limit of 40 hours of sick leave obtainable per calendar year. Only workers who work more than 680 hours per year would be eligible, and they would only be able to spend the accrued hours after their 750th hour of work after employment.

Employers would be exempt from this requirement only by employing fewer than 50 employees or by paying employees more than the minimum wage. The threshold for the latter exception increases with time, however: Beginning in 2019, employers would be exempt if they paid employees $1.65 more than the minimum hourly wage; in 2020, however, that threshold would rise to $3.15 more than the minimum wage, and again in 2021 to $4.90 more.

The bill, which passed the House and is moving through Senate committees, has proven contentious among businesses.

“It’s just a ploy to increase minimum wage,” said Gordon Takaki, president-elect of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce.

Takaki pointed out that the 2021 requirement to pay employees $4.90 more than the minimum wage would effectively require businesses to pay employees $15 an hour — a benchmark minimum wage increase advocates proposed as an ideal new minimum wage — to be exempt from the sick leave requirements….

Another hearing about the bill will take place today before the Senate Committee on Labor. A hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee has yet to be scheduled….

read … Sick

HB2117: HSTA Wants Legislators to Outlaw Standardized Testing beyond Federal Minimum

HNN: In Hawaii, a bill that would reduce the number of standardized tests in the islands is making its way through the State Legislature. If passed, House Bill 2117 would limit the number of standardized tests each student can be administered to just four a year, the Federal minimum….

According to Rosenlee's testimony, Kau-Keeau-Pahoa complex (some of the worst performing schools in Hawaii) area students take an average of 35 tests from kindergarten to 12th grade. In contrast, the average Campbell-Kapolei area student takes as many as 104 standardized tests in their academic careers…..

Schools Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto dissented from Rosenlee's view about the measure, saying that the bill "is not necessary at this time".

She believes that HIDOE's current efforts to curb testing are sufficient, and that without standardized testing, there would be no tool to hold educators accountable, or measure student success.

"Standardized testing provides information on academic progress ... while aggregated results inform educators and policy-makers by providing a measure of accountability for the public education system."

"Outside of standardized test results, no objective measure exists for policymakers to identify student academic achievement," said Kishimoto in her testimony.

The bill will next be heard by the legislative committee on education Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. in conference room 229 in the state Capitol…..

read … Hide Failure

Legislators Again Consider Making More Police Disciplinary Records Public

CB: …For the fifth straight year, there’s a bill to end the exemption for officers to a public records law that applies to everyone else….An amendment to House Bill 1849 passed Thursday would mandate the same disclosure of police officers’ disciplinary records as applied to other public employees. It would eliminate the requirement to conduct a case-by-case balancing test between “the public interest in disclosure” and “the privacy interests of the individual” that’s currently required….

CB: Letters: Police Chief Already Under Siege

read … Consider

HB1986: Carbon Credit Scam for Hawaii?

CP: A group of Hawaii Senate committees approved the most recent version of a proposed state-administered carbon offset programme on Friday, but state agencies and outside groups expressed reservations about the design of the scheme…..

(BTW have you noticed how cold it has been lately?)

HB1986: Text, Status

read … Carbon Credits

Money Grubbing Caldwell Obstructs Deployment of Ultra-Fast 5-G Wireless Network

HNN: …The city says it supports the move to go to 5G, but has several concerns about safety, regulations and worries about so-called "frankenpoles."

"Aesthetics are always important," said Ross Sasamura, director and chief engineer for the city's Department of Facility Maintenance. "Certainly we've had examples from the continental U.S. that have shown us a multitude of equipment installed and that's where the 'frankenpole' name comes from."

4G small cells typically consist of a 40-inch tall by 12-inch in diameter canister antenna with cables down the pole to one or two remote radio heads.

Verizon says dimensions for 5G are still being developed, but are anticipated to be significantly smaller and the radios would be integrated with the antennas.

"The frankenpole concept is something that we've tried very hard to address in terms of the dimensions," Roman said.  (Frankenpoles?  Really?)

State Sen. Glenn Wakai, chair of the Senate's Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology, said there's reason to be concerned, though.  "The wireless guys want to put it on every pole that they can possibly get their equipment on and do it for cheap and the city has to worry about safety," he said. "The city wants money for that opportunity."

The city wants to charge $2,500 to $4,000 per pole per year, but 5G advocates say $40 per pole per year is typical in other states.

"It's not just a matter of more money. It's all of the costs that goes into building the process that we need to have in place to protect the public from this new technology," said Sasamura….

read … Money Grubber

Hawaii County Ethics: Stop Lying About TVR Ownership While Pushing Ban on Other TVRs

WHT: The county Board of Ethics on Monday unanimously gave North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff the go-ahead to sponsor a bill regulating vacation rentals….

But Eoff still must disclose a possible (stop lying about her) conflict of interest and get a ruling from the council chairwoman, according to the county charter and council rules of procedure, said Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela….

March 4, 2018: Hawaii Co Bill 108: Allow TVRs only in District where Councilmember owns one

read … Ethics Board gives Eoff green light

DLNR: Enviro Courts Hard on Crime

CN: …David Sakoda, program specialist at Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the court has already brought results to the state nicknamed Paradise of the Pacific.

“We’re seeing good dispositions in favor of the environment, and the judges becoming more aware of why we have these natural-resource laws, and the value in imposing adequate sentences to deter future violators,” Sakoda said in a phone interview.

While his department lacks statistics on repeat offenders for now, Sakoda emphasized the importance of weeding out environmental-type cases.

In the old system, “we’d have a lot of illegal hunting, fishing, and illegal activity at state parks mixed in with assaults and other criminal activity,” Sakoda said. “A lot of the judges, we felt, wouldn’t give appropriate sentences for fishing violations – things people might consider minor infractions.”

Sakoda also noted that the need for more environmental courts is growing.

“With climate change it’s going to be important to be able to enforce the laws that protect our environment,” Sakoda said….

read … Suddenly Judiciary not Soft on Crime

EPA fines Terminix $168,000 for pesticide violations on Kauai—Protesters Silent

HNN: …The EPA says Terminix broke several rules when it misused three restricted-use pesticides and failed to protect workers at two seed fumigation sites, as well as two residences in Kapaa and Kekaha.

According to the EPA, Terminix didn't follow required label instructions or safety precautions before and during fumigation.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Terminix failed to provide proper worker protection, properly monitor the pesticide’s application or measure the amount used, and failed to keep at least two years of routine operational records tracking applications of a restricted-use pesticide.

“Access to restricted-use pesticides comes with the responsibility to use particular care in protecting public health,” said Alexis Strauss, acting Regional Administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, in a news release….

read … EPA fines Terminix

Hawaii: 20% of Adults are Binge Drinkers

HNN: Nearly 1 in 5 Hawaii adults are binge drinkers, a first-of-its-kind CDC study concludes. And those drinkers consume about 611 binge drinks a year.

That's the fifth-highest number in the country. Arkansas (841) took the no. 1 spot, while Mississippi (832) was in no. 2….

Across the board, Hawaii fared worse in the study compared to national averages.

About 17 percent of U.S. adults are binge drinkers, the study found, while in Hawaii the figure was 20 percent. And Hawaii averaged 107 binge drinks per adult in Hawaii, compared to 77 for every adult in the US….

read … Binge

Oahu’s First Trailer Park

CB:Honolulu’s Department of of Land Management on Monday unveiled the Farrington Highway affordable housing project, a 16-unit mobile home community in Waianae.

It is in essence Oahu’s first trailer park

It’s also the latest project built to house the homeless under Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamations that authorize the using of experimental building methods to address Hawaii’s high construction and permitting costs and get units up as quickly as possible.

Other projects built under the same authorization include Kahauiki Village — prefabricated homes originally intended to be emergency housing for tsunami victims assembled along Nimitz Highway— and the shipping containers-turned-apartments in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island.….

read … Oahu’s First Trailer Park

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