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Saturday, December 8, 2018
December 8, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:44 PM :: 3314 Views

Nation’s Capital hears our message on Jones Act

Health Insurance: Hawaii Cheapest in USA

Elder-Abuse Protections--Hawaii Ranks 28th

Honolulu Scores Well for 'Wallet Fitness'

Kaneshiro Acting as Political Enforcer?

CB: … Federal prosecutors have also questioned the city’s purchase of an apartment building that’s being used as a shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Safe House, previously known as the Family Justice Center, is one of Kaneshiro’s crowning achievements in public office, although it has been roundly criticized by advocates of domestic violence.

One of Kaneshiro’s top political donors, Donna Walden, sold the building to the city in 2015 for $5.5 million shortly after she herself purchased it for $4.5 million. A witness called before the grand jury to testify about the property sale told Civil Beat in 2017 that Kaneshiro, who was her boss at the time, had directed her to buy the property.

Sapolu was also involved in a strange case in which Kaneshiro’s office prosecuted a former employee of Mitsunaga & Associates, a company whose top employees give thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro’s political campaigns.

The felony charges were filed despite no independent review by an outside law enforcement agency or grand jury. Kaneshiro’s office simply filed the charges based on information provided by representatives of Mitsunaga & Associates.

A state court judge dismissed the case in 2017 saying, among other things, that the prosecution was “highly unusual,” “irregular” and a “threat to the judicial process.”

In another case earlier this year, Sapolu argued against Civil Beat’s attempts to unseal court records related to the arrest and prosecution of Tiffany Masunaga and Alan Ahn, a former police officer, for drug-related crimes.

Masunaga wanted an independent prosecutor to take over the case due to unspecified conflicts of interest within the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that her attorney said could put his client’s life in danger.

Katherine Kealoha had been the lead prosecutor on the case before she was placed on leave and eventually resigned….

read … Federal Investigators Are Digging Deeper Into Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office

OHA Money Grab: Hearings planned on small boat harbor fee hikes

SA: … The state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation got the green light Friday to move forward with public hearings on proposed fee hikes at small boat harbors that, if approved, will affect more than 10,000 boaters.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources approved DOBOR’s request to hold the hearings on increased fees for mooring, utility, facility, storage, ramp and commercial permits. Fee hikes also are proposed for offshore moorings.

With the proposed hikes, the state could rake in roughly double the $2.43 million in annual revenue it currently receives from users of Hawaii’s six main small boat harbors: Ala Wai on Oahu, Kaunakakai on Molokai, Maalaea on Maui, Nawiliwili on Kauai and Honokohau and Wailoa on Hawaii island…

The proposed rules can be viewed at DOBOR’s district offices at the Honokohau, Nawiliwili and Keehi small boat harbors and at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/draft-rules….

read … Hearings planned on small boat harbor fee hikes

Sierra Club Fails in Effort to Cut Off Upcountry Maui Water Supply

MN: …If the contested case were granted, the public interest would be adversely affected, Izu said, because A&B subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Co. would no longer be able to take ditch water and deliver it to the county’s Kamole Weir water treatment plant, which serves 35,000 Upcountry residents, schools, Kula Hospital and the Kula Agricultural Park.

Commenting on the land board’s denial of the contested case proceeding, A&B spokesman Darren Pai said Friday: “We appreciate the board’s decision. It enables us to continue to provide water to the County of Maui for its Upcountry residents and farmers, and to make continued progress toward our vision of establishing a patchwork of sustainable, viable diversified agricultural farms across the former (Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.) footprint.”

Sierra Club Hawai’i Chapter Director Marti Townsend said the club could appeal the board’s decision to state circuit court, but she declined to say whether that would happen….

Meanwhile: Stream Flow Ruling Cuts off Lahaina Water Supply

read … BLNR denies contested case for A&B water leases

Tax Hike Coming: Global Warmers Have a Plan for You and Your Property

MN: … One audience member asked if there were other options for properties, such as hotels, to consider besides retreat or being left for the ocean to reclaim.

“I guess to sum it all up, it’s very site specific. I don’t think there is one obvious solution, statewide or islandwide,” said Brad Romine, a coastal processes specialist with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant program.

“Our hotel folks might think in a slightly different time frame” and may base their moves on economic factors, such as return on investment, said Romine, who took part in the “Managed Retreat/Resiliency” panel.

Property owners could consider weighing other short-term options rather than moving their homes or hotels. This could include beach nourishment, which experts said has its pros and cons.

It is difficult to tell how fast sea-level rise will occur. The speed will determine how fast and what types of assistance properties may need, Romine said.

Chip Fletcher, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and vice chairman of the Honolulu Climate Change Commission, called retreat an “exit strategy,” which will lead to difficult decisions. For example, governments and communities will need to decide if tax dollars should be used to help people who built near the shoreline.

He made an analogy to homes destroyed on Hawaii island by the volcanic eruption. Should public funds be made available to those who built on active volcano sites and now have lost their homes?

“In a wealthy world, I would want to do that. But we are in a world of restricted resources,” he said.

Decisions will have to be made about how to treat the different types of property owners — owner-occupants, landlords and longtime kamaaina.

Fletcher said Maui County already has one of the most advanced shoreline setback laws in the world, which prevents development in hazardous areas. He reminded the audience that the county is working on new coastal setback rules.

The new rules would replace the county’s current calculations for shoreline setbacks and establish an erosion hazard line that incorporates future erosion from sea-level rise. The new line would be used for coastal developments uniformly throughout the county, streamlining the application process for applicants and planners.

“It achieves the dual purpose of providing for the safety of people who live on the coastline and pushes future development from the very sensitive region, beach and dune systems,” he said of the setback rules.

Fletcher pointed out that Maui County is the only county he knows of that defines and regulates dunes behind the sand that touches the water….

read … Managed retreat, other strategies weighed to address sea-level rise

Solar project must be moved away from humans, homes

MN: …The huge 200-acre solar power plant planned for South Maui may be a good idea but there is more to the story. The project is almost as large as Maui Meadows and its 49,000 panels, humming as they constantly swerve toward the sun, would be jammed very near homes.

Many elements of this proposal are alarming. According to Pono Power Coalition, Mauians opposed to the project:

Air temperatures around solar power plants are between 5.4 to 7.2 degrees warmer than surrounding land. This influences local rainfall and weather patterns. Imagine breathing the residue of 49,000 black glass panels in the South Maui heat! ….

What will 200 acres of cleared, denuded land do to properties downhill? During heavy rainfalls, there is a danger of flooding as well as increased brown water from the site harming our already fragile reefs, the ocean, its creatures and its beaches….

read … Solar project must be moved away from humans, homes

Kauai: Grove Farm Personnel Line Cabinet

KGI: … Two newly-appointed members of Mayor Derek Kawakami’s cabinet, along with the mayor himself, will be resigning their positions with Grove Farm Company and its associated corporations in order to avoid public perception of a conflict of interest or bias toward one of the island’s largest private landowners.

Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama, appointed by Kawakami to the position last week, has been Grove Farm’s director of finance since 2012. But Kawakami said Wednesday that Matsuyama will be leaving her job in the private sector before stepping into her new role with the county government in January…

“This requires a clean separation,” Kawakami said.

Both Kawakami and his appointed Department of Parks and Recreation director, Patrick Porter, sit on the Grove Farm Museum board of trustees. Although Kawakami maintains that Waioli Corporation, which manages the museum, is not directly tied to Grove Farm’s land management companies, Kawakami said that he and Porter will resign their seats on that board as a precautionary measure….

2012: 'Descendants' based on Case Family Grab for Grove Farm

read … Resignations aim to end conflict fears

Activist: I Submitted Comments Against RimPac and the Exercise Continued, therefore the process is Rigged 

KGI: …The Navy is looking at how proposed special operations training in Hawaii would affect the state, and a public comment period on their draft environmental assessment has been extended through Jan. 7.

The proposal is to conduct small-unit land and maritime training activities for naval special operations personnel in the nearshore waters and land-based areas on Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

The comment period began Nov. 8 and had a deadline in December, but it’s been extended “to allow public more time to submit comments,” according to the Navy’s press release about the draft.

U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command representatives didn’t return requests for comment by press time. However the draft says training would start in 2019.

“It is a small wonder they are extending the comment period,” said (professional protester) Gordon LaBedz with the conservation group Kohola Leo, who was part of a group protesting the military’s 2018 Rim of the Pacific exercises.

He continued, “My guess is that they received very few comments to legitimize their process.”

(Professional protester) Katherine Muzik, a Kauai marine biologist, said she thinks the U.S. Navy “blatantly ignores lengthy comments” in their process, since she submitted comments in opposition of proposed “war games,” — Rim of the Pacific exercises — and the exercises continued. (LOL!)

She says the Navy environmental assessment and other environmental impact statements don’t contain the proof needed to show that animals and ecosystems won’t be harmed by their activities.

(Precautionary Principle: Try applying the precautionary principle to itself.)

“Why not use Navy funding, equipment and manpower to clean up our oceans instead of destroy them?” Muzik asked.

(Translation: Give me money.)

read … Navy training targets Kauai

Food Evolution: the film that may change your mind about GMOs

ES: …From the first scenes we’re right in the thick of it: at a press conference, Margaret Wille, a member of the Hawaii County Council announces that this day is historic because she has just passed a law to make Hawaii a GMO-free zone. We then witness the debates that took place in the council before the bill was passed. The “pro” and the “anti” camps confront each other.  For example, Jeffrey Smith, the global star of the anti-GMO cause, takes part via video conference.  This friendly man asks to be called Jeff, not “Doctor”, and with good reason: we learn a little later that he has no scientific qualifications, but actually started his career as a swing dancer. Yet he seems serious when he tells the council that genetically modified papaya (Rainbow Papaya) can leave an organism susceptible to many diseases, including the AIDS virus. In the pro camp, Michael Shintaku, a plant pathology specialist at the University of Hawaii observes that many of these testimonies are emotional and that there is no danger from GMOs…

We are nevertheless treated by another witness to a quote from Gilles Eric Séralini’s rat tumor study, which has been removed from publication, and then a political activist who talks about the fact that the problem comes from the multinationals… and finally, Professor Dennis Gonsalves, co-inventor of the Rainbow Papaya who testifies in person. After this day of hearings, the law imposing a total ban on GMOs on the island was passed, but we learn later in the film that it was later amended, and that genetically modified papaya will be tolerated, as farmers have made it clear to Margaret Wille that the cultivation of this crop had serious implications for the island. In the meantime, an educational segment shows us the scientific method of Dr. Gonsalves’s research work and why he had the idea of genetically vaccinating Papaya against the Ringspot virus. It is understood that genetic engineering was used because there was no alternative way of preserving papaya crops against this disease. Genetic engineering thus allowed the re-introduction to the island of a crop which was under threat of vanishing altogether due to infection….

Link: Food Evolution Trailer

read … Food Evolution: the film that may change your mind about GMOs

WHT Editorial: Hospital’s Scabies timing seems suspicious

WHT: … Kona Community Hospital let down West Hawaii this week — there is no other way to put it — by seemingly letting a grudge influence a decision on when to share important information regarding safety in public health with the community….

Instead of sharing updated information with West Hawaii Today on an infection it’s fighting, the Kealakekua hospital, for whatever reason, didn’t.

Instead, it gave the information to several other news organizations — including several off-island — but not to the outlet that broke the story and with which the hospital shares an island and community….

read … WHT editorial: Hospital’s timing seems suspicious

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