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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
May 23, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:42 PM :: 3666 Views

After a Few Months of Typing, HGEA Member Scores Lifetime 'Disability' Pension

Rusty Scalpel: Gut n Replace SB2858 Fails to meet Constitutional requirement

Am Samoa Rep Amua Amata Headlines Hawaii GOP Luncheon

Yap Robo Day Showcases Technical Excellence in Micronesia

China Disinvited from Participating in 2018 RIMPAC Exercise

Kim 26% – Chin 19% in Race For Congress CD1

CB:  State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim is the frontrunner in the 1st Congressional District contest, running ahead of Lt. Gov. Doug Chin 26 percent to 19 percent….

Fukumoto polled in third place with 11 percent, while Ing was fourth with 8 percent. Also in the CD1 race is Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin, who received just 4 percent….

The Civil Beat Poll surveyed 321 likely Democratic primary voters. The calls were a mix of landlines (71 percent), and cell phones (29 percent). The poll’s margin of error is 5.5 percent….

PDF:  Poll Results

read … Kim Leads Chin In Race For Congress

Make education spending transparent

SA: …A letter writer recently asked a seemingly simple question: “Where do funds for education go?” (Star-Advertiser, May 9).

The simple answer is: Nobody knows … at least not in a meaningful way.

In fact, it can be challenging just to determine the amount of money being spent on education in Hawaii each year….

According to the state Department of Education, approximately $1.98 billion will be spent on education this year. But that excludes a variety of education costs, such as employee fringe benefits, capital improvements and related debt service.

When all education expenditures are considered, the total exceeds $3 billion.

Reasonable people can debate whether more money is needed, but why confuse the issue unnecessarily by excluding a billion dollars of education costs? If we are serious about knowing where the money is being spent, we should begin with the correct amount.

We also should focus on, (1) how much of that money actually gets to the schools, (2) who makes each spending decision, (3) for what specific purpose, and (4) who evaluates for effectiveness. None of this is currently available.

The DOE reports systemwide “clumps” of spending, such as $941.6 million for school-based budgeting, $367.7 million for special education, $190.6 million for school support, $53.7 million for instructional support, and $49.8 million for state administration.

Systemwide numbers like these are virtually meaningless to an individual teacher, principal, student or parent at any one school. How could anyone possibly know how much of it reaches a particular school, or have an informed opinion that it is or isn’t being spent wisely?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Education Institute of Hawaii (EIH) is working with a contractor to aggregate the DOE’s financial data by sources and then disaggregate, not just by function and program — such as Special Education and English Language Learners — but by location of each spending decision. It will also identify the timing of expenditures, treatment of unspent funds, and level of spending over which each school had meaningful control.

The resulting Excel-based, easy-to-use tool will make it possible for the state’s elected and appointed officials, educators and members of the public to form an opinion on the adequacy and efficacy of spending at the school level.

Because EIH’s methodology is currently utilized in many other places, it will be possible to make meaningful comparisons not just within Hawaii’s education system, but with other states and large school districts….

Related: Follow the Money? Not so Easy in Hawaii

read … Make education spending transparent

Abercrombie Whips up Manoa Professors into a Mindless Seething Frenzy after three trees cut down

CB: A community briefing that was intended as little more than a perfunctory presentation about a stream dredging project in Manoa turned into a full-fledged debate Tuesday, as former Gov. Neil Abercrombie (flacking for Hanabusa) and an environmental history professor (posturing wildly) led a (Greek) chorus of critics questioning the state’s plan to store toxic stream sludge next to University of Hawaii faculty apartments.

In the end, after a spirited, hour-long outdoor meeting that started at the Woodlawn Bridge over Manoa Stream and wandered up to the faculty apartment complex, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials threw in the towel. At least for now.  (Til after Aug 11th.)

DLNR director Suzanne Case agreed to postpone the dredging project, which was set to start this week, to allow more time to confer with residents….

KITV: Dredging plans to the Manoa stream, halted 

read … Abercrombie Whips up Manoa Professors into a Mindless Seething Frenzy after three trees cut down

Geothermal Concerns ‘Overblown’ by Years of Punatic Hysteria

SA: …the top executive in Hawaii for PGV said the concerns about lava inundation at the plant have been overblown.

Michael Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii affairs for PGV, said the noise and emissions from more than 20 volcanic fissures and the enormous active lava flow on the Lower East Rift Zone dwarf any emissions or damage that could possibly result from an uncontrolled breach of the geothermal wells on the PGV site.

“From our perspective, there’s nothing that could occur at the PGV facility at the wells that would be any worse than what’s already occurring with the eruption,” Kaleikini said. The noise and geothermal emissions from any well breach would be far less than the roaring of escaping gas and lava from the ongoing eruption, he said.

“This is all about the eruption, and PGV is just a small component that happens to be in the area,” he said….

read … Overhyped

A Housing Boom, Then a Volcanic Eruption

WSJ:  …Hawaii’s Legislature creates a perverse incentive to live in high-risk lava zones….

Related: How State Government fanned flames of volcano disaster

read … The Wall Street Journal

Hawaii County Council rejects Volcano as Tax Hike Excuse

HTH: …Hawaii County Council members stood firm Tuesday that they’re not ready to raise taxes to plug a $7 million hole in the budget that county officials attribute to an ongoing volcanic emergency in Puna.

During a hearing for the county’s $518 million spending plan, a majority of council members dismissed hikes to property taxes and general excise taxes, but also couldn’t agree on $7 million in spending cuts to balance the budget. The county charter requires the budget to remain balanced….

read … No New Taxes

City files class-action suit against service members with abandoned cars

SA: In an effort to speed up its ability to dispose of current and future vehicles abandoned by military service members, the city filed a class-action lawsuit today seeking to consolidate required hearings for the owners into one case.

Abandoned vehicles have been a growing problem on Oahu streets and those belonging to service members make up a good share of them. City officials say the city is now storing more than 200 vehicles whose owners cannot be located.

With the city’s lots already at capacity, Oahu is still averaging one abandoned vehicle a day, the lawsuit said….

The new system, however, benefits military members who’ve abandoned their vehicles because a class action will make it unnecessary to identify them, something that could affect their insurance premiums….

read … City files class-action suit against service members with abandoned cars

Honolulu City Council bill would make ride sharing business model unworkable, Uber says

PBN: …A bill introduced by Honolulu City Councilmember Ernie Martin aims to tighten restrictions for ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft as well as add additional regulations for taxi companies in Honolulu. 

Uber Senior Operations Manager Tabatha Chow said, if passed, Bill 35 would make it “difficult and potentially unworkable” for the San Francisco-based ride sharing company to operate in Honolulu.

The bill would place a cap on pricing for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, similar to the cap on taxi fares that is currently regulated by the city.

The bill would make it illegal for Uber to charge surge prices during peak times, a model Chow said the company uses to get more drivers on the road.

“The purpose of surge is reliability,” she said. “So that you can get a ride whenever you need one.”…

“Bill 35 would push Uber into an outdated taxi cab model, and I don’t mean outdated as in the current taxi cab model,” she said, adding under the bill, drivers for taxi companies as well as TNCs would also be required to pass a medical exam. "Requirements for a medical exam were already repealed for taxi cab drivers two years ago."

Another provision in the bill that Uber opposes is the requirement for TNCs to display permanent decals on their vehicles, like taxis, indicating they are a private transportation vehicle.

Chow said the requirement would be burdensome for drivers that often work for Uber part time as well as confusing for law enforcement. 

“When you put a permanent decal on a personal vehicle, law enforcement could flag you down at the airport and tell you you can’t pick up in a certain area at times when you are not operating as an Uber driver,” she said.

Bill 35 will be heard and voted on at Wednesday’s city council budget meeting. If passed, the bill will go to a final floor vote on June 6.  …

read … Honolulu City Council bill would make ride sharing business model unworkable, Uber says

Lime Didn’t Pay off Insiders Like Biki Did

Cataluna: …government becomes the fast-moving slipper that swats them like a cockroach.

What we usually see is the business-with-total-­disregard part. Unpermitted vacation rentals, people hawking stuff at tourist stops, “hidden Hawaii” tours trespassing on public and private land, all those “monster” boardinghouses built unchecked for years. Rule-breakers get away with all kinds of stuff in Hawaii. Hawaii bureaucracy may be thick but it’s also hopelessly passive. The part that’s new (different) is government swooping in with strong words and swift action….

It is amazing what can be accomplished with political will.

And what is political will made of?

Many things, including the desire to appear in control, to save face, to command respect.

Also, the fact that the city had gone through all the rigmarole of throwing in with Biki — including making room in city parking spots for the bike-sharing docks — $2 million in city and state funding, and the special assistance the company got in getting the bikes on the street before they were registered. For Lime to swoop in and successfully (temporarily) bypass all that bureaucratic bluster was just too much for the mayor….

read … Swat

OHA Agenda Fails in Legislature

MW:  The 2018 legislature killed 3.7 bills and resolutions on Hawaiian topics for every one it passed. That's stunning for a legislature normally vibrating to the same oscillation as its Hawaiian-blood constituents….

read … OHA Agenda

Effort to Re-Corrupt Police Commission Fails

CB: …Councilman Ikaika Anderson pulls back his proposals to shake up how the city selects police and fire chiefs and commissions….

Lynne Matusow, the only member of the public who submitted testimony on the measure, opposed it.

“Kealoha is gone,” she wrote. “There is a new commission of dedicated volunteers and a new, highly respected police chief, let them do their job. Don’t meddle.”

read …  Mayor Won’t Get Power To Hire Or Fire Honolulu Police Chief

Cost $300K per Year-- Homeless 200-time ‘Frequent Flyer Found Lying in Middle of Street

HNN: …the CHOW Project's street medicine team stumbled across someone lying on the side of River Street that they hadn't seen in a while.

"I'm a mess," said Robert.

"I want to help you," Wang replied.

At one time, Robert was the state's second-highest user of emergency room care. Wang said he checked into the Queen's Medical Center nearly 200 times in a single year.

With the help of outreach providers, he's was doing much better. Last anyone saw him he was sober and hadn't been to the hospital in nearly eight months.

But he's struggled more recently.

With a beer in his hand, he told the doctor, "I lost everything."

And so the street medicine team bandaged an open sore on Robert's leg while Wang made phone calls to see if there was space for him in detox.

The team has proven integral to helping dozens of the hardest to house get help — and, eventually, get off the streets.

They've also helped save countless dollars in health care….Each time someone is admitted to the emergency room for wound care it costs about $1,500 on average. That's compared to $20 when those same wounds are dressed on the street….

Over the past year, Wang said the team's work has helped close to 60 people find their way off the street….

($1500 x 200 visits = $300K PER YEAR)  … ($300K x 60 = $18M per year)

read … With smiles and bandages, a street medicine team builds bonds to help the hardest to house

HPD: 10 Referrals a Day to Mental Health program

WHT: …Mental health experts discussed two programs that allow law enforcement and health professionals to work together to help these individuals who deal with mental illness. The Sequential Intercept Model has been operating in Honolulu for a year and was recently rolled out in Maui County.

The model is underway in Hawaii County. Champion said the goal is get the program statewide.

Champion said the Sequential Intercept Model provides a pathway for mental health professionals to understand how a person travels in the criminal justice system and how they can intervene….

Since the model program’s implementation in the City and County of Honolulu, for the 2017 fiscal year there have been 3,547 calls from officers to mental health emergency workers….

read … Programs look to give officers more tools to help people with mental health issues

9-11 Trooother ‘Impressed’ with Tulsi Gabbard 

MN: …I was impressed to phone U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office on the call-in day May 11 for the Bobby McIlvaine Act sponsored by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Troooooth. Her staff told me there were lots of calls and they were familiar with the act/issue…..

read … Conspiracy Moron

ABC Store Manager Spends Hours Every Week Cleaning up After Homeless Shelter-Refusers

SA: …Marjorie Pua, an ABC Stores corporate office employee, parked her car off Cooke Street and sidestepped feces — maybe the result of animals, possibly human — as she entered the building Tuesday to start her workday.

“It’s like this every morning,” said Pua, an assistant in the graphic design department. “Every morning. It’s bad.”

After dozens of homeless people moved back into that part of the Kaka­ako neighborhood this month, ABC Stores had to buy a $300 power washer to clean feces away from its Cooke Street corporate headquarters, not to mention the hours of staff time spent every morning getting squatters to break down their tents and tarps….

The 40 or so people and their dogs living in and around Mother Waldron Park — bordered by Pohukaina, Halekauwila, Cooke and Keawe streets — are mostly regulars, so-called chronically homeless who have been living on the streets around Kakaako for years.

Most of them migrated to the city park May 2 after the Hawaii Community Development Authority granted Honolulu police and a special city cleanup crew right of way to enter the state’s Kaka­ako Waterfront Park and its sister parks to enforce closure hours — which includes sweeping the homeless.

As a result, for the first time in years, there are no longer homeless encampments at Kakaako Waterfront Park and its adjoining parks, said Garett Kamemoto, HCDA’s interim executive director….

On the Ewa end of the park, Down to Earth Organic &Natural opened its Kaka­ako grocery store just five days before the city swept the parks around Kakaako Waterfront Park.  Dozens of homeless people have since set up camp next door….

read … Feces

Ceremony Honors Hawaii’s Civil War Vets

HNN: …"They issued certificates, so I have certificates for about 12 Hawaiians that served in the Army," Napoleon said. "Several of our Hawaii Sons of the Civil War did die in the war, although most survived," Napoleon said.

She estimates that 83 men from Hawaii fought in the Civil War, and about half of them were native Hawaiians. The ceremony at Mauna Ala culminated at Oahu Cemetery.

"We found one grave here, Private J.R. Kealoha, who was a Civil War veteran," Souza said.

Kealoha died in 1877, but his grave was unmarked until 2014.

Since then, the Royal Order of Kamehameha has held an annual service at the site….

read … Ceremony honors Native Hawaiians, Black Americans who fought in Civil War

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