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Friday, August 17, 2018
August 17, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:02 PM :: 3718 Views

Hawaii Statehood: Tiny 1959 opposition was anti-Japanese, not anti-American

Economist: Honolulu most liveable city in America

Saiki: DoE Gets Plenty of Money, Doesn’t Need More

HPR: The State Department of Education receives nearly 2-billion dollars in state and federal funding.  House Speaker Scott Saiki says that’s more than 20 percent of state’s total budget.

“I don’t understand why there always seems to be – you know – these complaints that the schools lacks sufficient supplies and resources and other kinds of things.  I’m not sure if this is a function of not enough money or if it’s also because dollars aren’t spent wisely at the Department of Education.”…

taxing investors will impact the rental market and displace many people, including new teachers.

“It’s always good to remember that behind every renter is an investor.  And, without an investor, we have homelessness.  We need to treat our investors well, or they will not the replacement properties that we need to house our renters.”…

read … Perspectives: Constitutional Amendment for Public Education

Financial Statements Tie Gabbard to Alleged Fraudster, Value Schatz Influence Peddling at Paltry $500K

CB: Here are a few things you can glean from U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s latest financial disclosure form, which was filed this week:

— The Armenian embassy picked up part of the tab for her visit to the country in 2017, a trip that effectively banned her from traveling to Azerbaijan;

— She’s a founding fellow of The Sanders Institute, a nonprofit launched in 2017 by Jane O’Meara (under federal investigation for fraud), who’s the wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders;

— And she’s a new investor in two companies trading in bitcoin… (heading for zero)

Schatz’s latest financial disclosure is less interesting than Gabbard’s, if only because he didn’t report any travel or speaking engagements that netted him any cash.

The reports show, however, that the senator still pulls down a pension of $35,729 from the state after serving in the Legislature and as lieutenant governor. It also notes that his wife, Linda Schatz, owns a real estate development consulting company, (influence peddling) valued at up to $500,000….

The latest reports show that Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who filed her disclosure in May, are the two most affluent members of Hawaii’s delegation. Both Hanabusa and Hirono have more than $1 million in income and assets, according to the reports….

read … From Bitcoin to Real Estate: How Federal Lawmakers Invest Their Money

Opportunity to Renegotiate Overpriced Geothermal Contract?

PBN: …not everyone is keen on bringing the geothermal power plant back. Marco Mangelsdorf, the president of Big Island-based ProVision Solar, told PBN that HELCO should simply move on.

"We have had a good run with PGV over the past 25 years, and it’s now time to move on and bring this plant to a definitive close because it’s not in the best interest of the electric ratepayers of this island," he said.

Mangelsdorf, a veteran in the renewable energy field, is pointing to the avoided cost rate that is part of the PPA between HELCO and Ormat. Under the terms of the PPA, the utility is required to pay avoided cost for the first 25 MW of the power plant's output.

In Hawaii, avoided cost means that the power producer, in this case PGV, receives payments from the utility that vary in value depending on outside factors such as the price of oil. Act 26, which was passed in 2006, effectively banned the use of avoided cost contracts in Hawaii.

According to Mangelsdorf, this means that if the price of oil continues to be above $60 per barrel, all ratepayers are getting "effectively hosed" by PGV's legacy avoided cost contract with HELCO.

read … Puna Geothermal could reopen within 18 months after Kilauea eruption ends, but should it?

Leilani residents want more transparency in decisions affecting neighborhood

HTH: …126 residents signed a letter that was delivered to the county Wednesday seeking more transparency in decisions affecting their neighborhood. It also asks that someone selected by residents be allowed to attend government meetings where such decisions are made…..

As for restrictions on residents moving around the neighborhood, Magno said that was put in place early on to deal with people who were using placards to access the subdivision and burglarize homes. He said he wasn’t aware of a resident being arrested or cited because of that….

read … Leilani residents want more transparency in decisions affecting neighborhood

Voting now easy but somehow uninspiring

Cataluna: …More people signed the petition against an out-of-state restaurant trying to kapu the name “Aloha Poke” than voted for David Ige in the primary.

Over 169,000 signed the online petition while Ige, the top vote-getter in any office on the primary ballot, got 124,528 votes….

The abysmal turnout certainly is not because casting a vote requires great personal effort or a big commitment of time. Recent changes have made voting so ridiculously easy. Back in the day, newspapers would do stories about people who were unable to drive, unable to walk, lying in their deathbeds or living in drastically remote areas somehow finding ways to get to the polls to vote because doing so made them feel vital. Now you can become a registered voter on the day of the primary….

I don’t think it’s because people don’t care. People do care. You can strike up a conversation about politics with anybody in the elevator or in line for their latte and get everyone’s blood going like a spin class. Hawaii residents are not apathetic. They have a lot to say about the condition of the roads. They care very much about the horrible traffic jams. The homeless people living in squalor in public parks and roadsides make people so upset and frustrated.

Perhaps it’s that Hawaii residents don’t feel that politicians have the answers to anything….

we used to be really good at this. We used to be fired up about voting. Turnout for Hawaii’s 1959 election — the first time Hawaii elected a governor — was 92.9 percent….

read … Voting now easy but somehow uninspiring

In Bid for More Money, UH Projects A $28 Million Deficit In A Billion-Dollar Budget

CB: … and in a bid for more CIP, UH manages to grow its 848 million maintenance backlog even bigger…..

read … UH Projects A $28 Million Deficit In A Billion-Dollar Budget

Lawsuit Alleged NCAA Violations at UH Hilo

SA: …The suit claims Fuchigami, then a general manager for Aqua-Aston’s Maui Banyan Hotel, was temporarily assigned by Cowan as general manager for the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo on Dec. 21, 2016, while Aqua Hospitality was managing the hotel under a contract with the hotel’s owner, Tower Development Inc.

According to the filing, Fuchigami discovered on Dec. 24, 2016, that $21,000 was missing from a hotel front office safe and reported the theft to his bosses and police. The suit claims the only person with access to the safe was a front office manager, unnamed in the document, who was suspended by Cowan three days earlier and later terminated, allegedly for providing free rooms to family and friends.

Neither the hotel management company nor the police investigated, and no charges were ever filed against the front office manager, the suit claims.

“He called the police saying, ‘Hey, there’s supposed to be $21,000 that’s missing here.’ Then he notified his manager, who was Susan Cowan. He was expecting to get interviewed by police. Well, from December to the time he was fired in June (2017), he was never interviewed by police,” Kubota said.

Police Capt. Randall Medeiros said a theft “of U.S. currency in excess of $20,000 was reported at a hotel on Banyan Drive” and “is being actively investigated by the Criminal Investigation Section.” Medeiros said he couldn’t provide any other details because the investigation is still active.

Other allegations in the suit include that a former housekeeping manager, identified in the suit as Kyle Joaquin, “falsified time records for several employees” including a University of Hawaii at Hilo basketball player and baseball player who allegedly clocked in, left shortly afterward and received full paychecks. The suit also alleges Joaquin put a rentable room “fraudulently … out of order” and used it as a “party room … for himself and select employees,” and “illegally provided free alcoholic beverages left behind in the guest rooms to these same employees” — including the UH-Hilo athletes, neither of whom were of legal drinking age at the time.

The athletes weren’t identified in the suit.

The Grand Naniloa Hotel is a sponsor of UH-Hilo Vulcan athletics, and the Vulcans’ website has a link on its top line to the hotel’s website. The Grand Naniloa is the only business with such a link….

read … Former Grand Naniloa GM sues hotel management company, executive

Crowd criticizes state’s plan for Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor

SA:  The state’s decision to move forward on redevelopment of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor through a public-private partnership drew criticism Monday night during a Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting….

Underwood said the goal is to develop the harbor into a world-class marina that meets the needs of residents and visitors who use the ocean for a myriad of activities. He said developers would be expected to “learn from our past lessons” and incorporate elements collected by DTL Hawaii, an organization that DOBOR paid $99,885 to insert public input into the RFP process….

the state broadened the harbor’s redevelopment options through Act 197 and HRS 171-6(19), paving the way for a public-private partnership. It didn’t help that its first attempt at a partnership failed after Honey Bee USA went bankrupt in 2016, leaving a wake of creditors, including the state, which are still owed $500,000. Without more oversight, some Waikiki residents fear DOBOR’s second attempt at a public-­private partnership at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor will end just as badly….

Waikiki Neighborhood Board Member Kathryn Henski, who has been part of Honolulu’s boater community since the 1970s, garnered applause from the crowd when she said, “There are so many things wrong, you have no right to ask for a request for proposals until you clean up your act.”….

Underwood said he has recommended that Ala Wai harbor mooring fees be increased from the current $9 per linear foot to $13 per linear foot based on the berth rate. He also wants the state to consider the electricity rate, which has been set at a $5 flat-rate since 1994….

read … Crowd criticizes state’s plan for Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor

Another CWS Failure?  Boy Found Wandering in Nanakuli

KITV:  …A young boy found wandering the streets of Oahu's west side, wearing nothing but his underwear with no parents in sight.

The child was found walking along Hakimo Road in Nanakuli Tuesday night. Hours after he says he was kicked out of a house in Makaha.

A family member says the boy is roughly seven-years-old and the relative worried about his well-being….

"In assessing C-W-S involvement, we approach each situation to understand what safety or risk factors may be present for a child in a given home. But, it's important to note that a lack of housing alone would not necessarily warrant CWS involvement. We would look to the entire family's situation and their ability to care for a child safely in whatever setting they're living, whether permanent housing or otherwise...".

read … Young boy found wandering in Nanakuli

Homeless Lifelong Criminal Gets a Whole Year in Jail

SA: …A 30-year-old homeless man was sentenced to one year in jail for his attack on a female tourist in Waikiki who tried to stop him from injuring a second homeless man.

Preston K. Smith, who faced charges of third-degree assault, criminal contempt of court and revocation or modification of probation conditions, was given the maximum sentence Wednesday by Judge Darolyn Lendio for his July 8 attack on Ashleigh Andreasen, a 28-year-old hairstylist from Mesa, Ariz….

Smith had 10 prior convictions, including second-degree robbery and third-degree assault, said Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Elizabeth Murphy, who prosecuted Smith for his attack on Andreasen. At the time of his arrest in the Andreasen case, Murphy said, Smith was part of Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), a probation program started in 2004 by Circuit Judge Steven Alm which aims to reduce probation violations by drug offenders and others at high risk of recidivism.

Murphy said she was pleased Smith received a maximum sentence, which is rare for a misdemeanor charge….

read … Soft on Crime

Half of Upcountry Maui County Water Meters Rejected

MN:  …Maui County’s water department is expected to make 120 offers for water meters in Upcountry this year, one of the highest annual totals since the department began paring the 1,900 property waitlist that was closed in 2013….

In 2017, there were 43 offers for water meters and in 2016, there were 45 offers…

The property owner has 30 days to accept or not. While awaiting a response, the department assists those receiving letters, answering questions and concerns, said Taomoto. No more letters are sent out during the term.

Taomoto said that sometimes around half of meters offered are declined. She attributed this to plans changing during the long wait and the high cost of additional requirements accompanying the meter.

Other landowners may have already hooked up to a private water system, which includes well water or catchment systems, she said.

Baisa indicated that the 30-day decision-making time period may be too short, and the department is looking to amend county law to extend the deadline.

Some people suddenly learn after decades of waiting that they now have an opportunity to obtain a meter. Sometimes landowners have to contact multiple owners and/or family members who may live off-island.

The priority list was established in 1994 to control the expanded use of surface water in the face of droughts and calls for water restrictions Upcountry.

Water department officials now say that source issues are no longer the main reason for the backlog

read … Meter waitlist getting pared down faster

Hawaii laws do not allow state grand jury investigations

KITV: …Should other states follow Pennsylvania's lead and open their own investigations into the Catholic Church?

According to Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin, unlike Pennsylvania, Hawaii laws do not allow for state grand jury investigations….

read … Hawaii laws do not allow state grand jury investigations

Activist says Mormon Church should pay taxes Because of its Refusal to Bow Before Gay Agenda

KITV: The claims are stacked high. 283 pages of allegations from the group Mormon Tips, many claiming tax code violations against the Mormon Church.  Gay Activist Fred Karger dropped them off today at the IRS. One main target is the Polynesian Cultural Center….

He “also” claims the church discriminates against LGBT members….

The Polynesian cultural center is A non-profit organization, 100 percent of its revenue goes to daily operations and to support the education of its student-employees from neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii….

read … Activist says Mormon Church should pay taxes on Polynesian Cultural Center




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