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Wednesday, January 16, 2019
January 16, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:54 PM :: 5729 Views

Ed Case: "I'm an Asian Trapped in a White Body"

UPDATE: Ige Sends McCartney to DBEDT, Fuchigami Chief of Staff

Opening Day Speech: What is a Loyal Opposition?

Opening Day: Be an Effective Citizen-Activist

Harassed by Drugged-out Shelter–Refusers, Iolani Palace to close earlier—Children’s Center may Shut Down

DoH Reports 23,479 Medicated Dopers Statewide

Racial Progress? Hawaii 2nd-Worst Health Disparities

Ige Announces More Second Tier Appointments

DoE Keeping Child-Molester Teacher Records Secret

CB: … The Hawaii Department of Education is refusing to release records that show why teachers are being disciplined, including a number of actions taken against teachers who have been fired in recent years. That makes it impossible for the public and parents to check up on what’s happening to bad teachers and where they are ending up.

The DOE gave the state Board of Education a list of misconduct cases last year during a public meeting, a list that contained very little information. Some of the 34 closed cases included in that list are now more than a year old.

When Civil Beat asked for more details, the DOE refused. Spokeswoman Lindsay Chambers said handing over the information would “violate employee and student privacy.”

But Hawaii’s public records law, the Uniform Information Practices Act, says otherwise. Under the law, public agencies must disclose specific information about employees who are suspended or fired for misconduct who have exhausted the grievance process. Such information must include a summary of allegations and findings of fact….

Eventually, with the law center’s assistance, we got documents for five disciplined DOE employees. All were heavily redacted. Some were so blacked out it was hard to tell what was going on or how the DOE handled the allegations.

For instance, it took a Google search to find out that terminated DOE employee Michael Wright, a former Jefferson Elementary teacher, had been convicted of sexual assault against a minor and sentenced to prison last year. News stories said the conviction involved a minor, who didn’t attend the school, occurred over a period of five years and that he was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result of that criminal investigation.

But the DOE letter to Wright that the department eventually released to us suggests he was reprimanded for the way he asked for a leave of absence from the department. Because it’s redacted, it’s hard to make sense of that letter or learn how the DOE handled his case, and no one from DOE would talk about the criminal conviction….

all DOE would say about fired DOE employee Andrew Cece was that he worked at Kapolei High and was let go for “violation of DOE Code of Conduct” and an “investigation of suspected violations.”….

A redacted final investigation report shows that Cece watched a student change into a JROTC uniform in a classroom, tried to coerce a student to have drinks with him and touched a student in the chest area…..

But DOE blacked out so much information in that report it’s unclear what the exact nature of the complaints entailed, or whether they could possibly rise to a sexual offense. It’s also unclear if the school referred that case to law enforcement. Cece doesn’t turn up in a Google search so any information about where he ended up would have to come from the state DOE.

And we’re still waiting for records from the other 29 closed cases….

read … Education Officials Are Keeping Teacher Misconduct A Secret

Contract Reopeners: More Raises on Tap for Public Employee Unions

SA: …Left-leaning Democrats have also promised there will be a strong push this year to establish a statewide $17 minimum wage, but push-back from small businesses and the state and county business organizations is likely to be fierce.

The Ige administration is also deep into negotiations with the state’s public worker unions, with most public employees contracts scheduled to expire on June 30. Since the state has been running sizable budget surpluses for years now, there will be significant pressure on the administration and lawmakers to fund a new round of raises for public employees….

read … Hawaii Legislature officially opens with prayers, hula and full agenda

Bad News: The Hawaii State Legislature to open Today

KITV: … The Hawaii State Legislature opens Wednesday. The Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate will convene at 10 a.m. with both chambers featuring speeches and entertainment. The public is welcome to attend.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. with seating available on a first come, first served basis. ….

read … Nightmare on Beretania Street

Hawaii Carbon Tax --- Coal, Oil, Plastic, and Greenhouse Gases

IM: … Hawai`i enacted a barrel tax which originally applied only to oil. The official name of the tax is the “environmental response, energy, and food security tax.” Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) §243-3.5 describes the tax and its use in more than 800 words. The tax is imposed on fossil fuels using the British Thermal Unit (BTU) metric.

The tax is paid by the distributor of the fossil fuel. Most of the revenue goes into the general fund.

The law covers coal, however, the tax “shall not apply to coal used to fulfill a signed power purchase agreement between an independent power producer and an electric utility that is in effect as of June 30, 2015.”

Thus, the law exempted the former HC&S biomass plant on Maui and the active AES coal-to-electricity plant that was approved by state regulators three decades ago as a way to diversify electricity production away from petroleum.

Byproducts are also exempt. “`Fossil fuel` means a hydrocarbon deposit, such as coal, natural gas, or liquefied natural gas, derived from the accumulated remains of ancient plants or animals and used for fuel; provided that the term specifically does not include petroleum product.”

The law specifies that utilities may pass the tax onto ratepayers.

A single-use plastic bag bill was introduced in the 2012 Hawai`i State Legislature.

Hawai`i Senators Riviere, Espero, Kim, and Ruderman authored SB 2964 last year. “It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans.  Plastic pollution defaces Hawaii's iconic beaches, the very foundation of the State's tourism industry.”

The purpose of the act was to require that “the department of land and natural resources to remove plastic marine debris from beaches frequently” and for the “counties to dispose at permitted solid waste management systems promptly the marine plastic debris collected by the department of land and natural resources and volunteers.”

The bill died.

Hawai`i Senator Rhoads introduced SB 2285 in 2018 to “prohibit the distribution, sale, and provision of plastic straws.” …

The bill had one hearing and then died.

The Hawai`i State Climate Commission and the Governor have proposed carbon taxes, which must mean modifying the existing carbon tax or adding a new carbon tax…. 

SA: ‘Experts’ say Hawaii needs to plan now for climate change

SA: The priests of gorebull warming religion conveniently ignore the additional costs of "sustainable" energy from government subsidies

read … Hawai`i Carbon Tax --- Coal, Oil, Plastic, and Greenhouse Gases

Lawmaker wants to replace Presidents Day with Hawaiian Independence Day

KITV: …A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would replace Presidents Day with a holiday that recognizes the Kingdom of Hawaii's independence. 

The holiday is known as La Ku'oko'a. It was first recognized on November 28, 1843, when Great Britain and France acknowledged the Hawaiian Islands as an independent nation. It was widely celebrated under the Kingdom of Hawai'i and during the initial years of the Territory of Hawai'i, until it was dropped as a holiday in 1903, according to the Hawai'i State Archives.

Sen. J. Kalani English plans on introducing a bill this legislative session that would reinstate La Ku'oko'a as a state holiday and replace it with Presidents Day, which is held every February….

read … Lawmaker wants to replace Presidents Day with Hawaiian Independence Day

Revote possible in contested Honolulu City Council race

SA: … If the Hawaii Supreme Court chooses to side with City Council candidate Tommy Waters’ challenge of his 22-vote loss to Trevor Ozawa in November, voters of the East Honolulu district might need to vote again.

State Deputy Attorney General Valri Kunimoto told the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday that there’s no way the state Office of Elections can separate the 350 Council District 4 absentee mail-in ballots that were gathered by the United Postal Service at 6 p.m. and then handed over to the Honolulu city clerk’s office later, indicating a recount of just those votes could not be done.

Kunimoto said the 350 ballots were commingled with other ballots, including those dropped off at polling places. “They can’t be separated out because they were all commingled together, put through the scanners, and we … wouldn’t know how they voted and so we wouldn’t be able to ascertain … what the correct result would be if they extracted the 350.”

So if the court were to rule in favor of Waters, who is seeking either a recount or a revote, it’s likely the only remedy available to them would be an invalidation of the votes and a new election….

read … Revote possible in contested Honolulu City Council race

Supreme Court questions process of mail-in ballot collection

HNN: …At issue: 350 absentee ballots that were picked up by the city clerk after polls had closed.

Waters and his supporters want the ballots invalidated, and are calling for a new election (or at least a hand recount).

“(There were) weird things going on,” Waters said, during the hearing Tuesday.

In court, justices grilled the city’s deputy corporation counsel on when exactly the 350 absentee envelopes were collected. A lack of information from the U.S. Postal Service left the city without some answers.

“I don’t understand how clerk doesn’t have duty to sweep the post office,” said Justice Richard Pollack….

read … In council race dispute, justices grill officials over handling of absentee ballots

Election Recounts, Vote by Mail Back on Legislative Agenda

MN: … “I am reintroducing the bill that I wrote a few years back that will require an automatic recount when the difference is 250 votes or 1 percent, whichever is less,” Keith-Agaran said in an email. “That proposal moved out of the state Senate but was not taken up in the other chamber. We should have the Elections Office checking close vote results, including doing hand counts when appropriate.”

Keith-Agaran said he also will reintroduce a bill that would allow all voting by mail. “Kauai County will hold all-mail balloting as a pilot in 2020, but we should continue to look at expanding that choice to the other counties. All of the clerks have expressed difficulty with recruiting workers at the polls and up to half the voting statewide is now done by absentee mail ballots already.”….

read … Key Maui lawmakers discuss session, which opens today

Campbell High gets funds to begin planning a much needed athletic facility

HNN: …Campbell High School will be getting $1 million to go toward planning and designing a new sports complex.

Senator-Elect Kurt Fevella says the Governor sent him an email Monday night about the money after they had met earlier in the day.

Fevella says the new facility could be modeled after Farrington High School’s new stadium.

Last year, West Oahu lawmakers were denied their request for about $30 million for new athletic facilities at Campbell.

“He released that money yesterday so it’s really a big celebration for the community of Ewa Beach because we was waiting for that,” Fevella said…..

read … Campbell High gets funds to begin planning a much needed athletic facility

Overrun by Homeless Shelter-Refusers, Children’s Discovery Center to be Closed

SA: …Drug dealing, intimidation, violence, crime, filth and an overriding disregard for others are not the elements that make up a healthy environment for children. How can I blame parents for not wanting to subject their children to the worse aspects of homelessness in our community?…

we have learned to make the subtle but clear distinction between those who truly want help and those who scoff at it — between those who desperately want a helping hand, and those who readily slap it away.

What we are dealing with in Kakaako are those who use our walls, doorways and steps as toilets, who openly deal in drugs, who are mentally ill, and ignore those outreach officials who want to get them into transitional housing, rehabilitation and jobs programs. They are the “hard core” homeless who really need tough love….

We have tried to give others — who have more expertise and resources at their disposal to do what is in the best interest of the greater community, as well as the homeless — time to do their job.

We have tried to be fair to them — and they have failed, not us, but our children.

Given the unsupportable loss of attendance, I will be meeting with our board of directors about the possibility that, unless the problem is resolved swiftly, we might have to close the center. It pains me to a degree that few may comprehend. I have devoted over 30 years of my adult life to the realization of a children’s museum that truly reflects Hawaii and one that sends a message of hope and optimism. To those who have supported us over the years, my unending thanks for your kindness and goodwill….

Most Intelligent Comment: “Bring back vagrancy laws, and enforce them.”

read … Children’s Discovery Center to be Closed?

How EPA Forced Hawaii to Stop Covering up Dirty Water

KITV: …  Lately, the state has sent out more health warnings, so you might think there have been more pathogens found -- but that is not the case….

"In years past we would use clostridium and enterococci. 2 indicators, both would have to be high before we made any kind of public notification," said Myron Honda, with the Dept. of Health's Clean Water Branch….  (Because this method resulted in fewer closures, thus benefitting the tourism industry.)

All that changed in 2016, when the Environmental Protection Agency required the state to follow the same guidelines as the mainland: Use only enterococci levels, and any reading over 130 means advisories have to go up.

That has led to a sharp increase in beach warnings and even closures. The latest shutdown of Hanauma Bay had enterococci levels just above the threshold, but barely any clostridium….

(And the tourism industry wants these closures to stop!)

"It happens all the time. I collect many samples when enterococci is high but clostridium is not present," said University of Hawaii researcher Marek Kirs.

If the state used the old measuring system, how many times would those beach advisories have gone up?

"Very few," according to Honda….

The EPA change has also meant more work for those taking and testing the samples. Because if numbers are higher, they are required to take another sample each day -- until the numbers come down. …

read … Is Hawaii sounding the alarm over safe beaches?

Microsoft Censors News at Hawaii Public Libraries

Forbes: … The collaboration dates back to August when Microsoft began working with NewsGuard as part of its Defending Democracy Program, at that time sponsoring the browser extension version. Public libraries across the country — including Hawaii Public Libraries and Toledo Lucas County Public Library in Ohio — have since provided NewsGuard on computers used by library patrons.

NewsGuard co-founder Gordon Crovitz called the latest agreement “a milestone in the fight to bring consumers the information they need to counter false information, misinformation and disinformation online.” He praised Microsoft for taking the lead among tech companies “in providing its users with the information they need to counter unreliable news sources.”

Created last March by Steve Brill, founder of The American Lawyer and Brill’s Content magazines, and Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, NewsGuard provides Green (good) and Red (not good) ratings for sites based on credibility and transparency. The list of criteria is found in "Nutrition Labels" affixed to news sites….

read … NewsGuard Gets A Leg Up In The War On Real Fake News

Democrats Plant all their Problem Children on House Financial Services Committee

BB: … Wall Street, get ready for a lot more scrutiny from U.S. Representative (dancing socialist loon) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The New York lawmaker, who has become a sensation among progressives, will almost certainly join the House Financial Services Committee after a group of fellow Democrats on the party’s steering committee voted to recommend her for the panel on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Two other recently elected progressive Democrats, (anti-Semite) Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Katie Porter of California, are also likely to join the panel, said the people said, who requested anonymity because the names of the new members have not yet been announced.

(Cult member) Tulsi Gabbard, a lawmaker from Hawaii who says she plans to run for president in 2020, is also poised to join, the people said.

Because the committee plays a big role in setting policies for banks, hedge funds and insurers, its (bought n paid for) members are often known for their fundraising prowess….

read .. Tulsi will fit in

Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential fantasy: “A remarkably bad launch”

ILind: … Gabbard’s new prominence will undoubtedly prompt more reporting on her background with and continuing ties to the cult known as the Science of Identity.

When Gabbard first ran for a seat in Congress, Hawaii voters who were aware of Gabbard’s past had to decide whether she had actually rejected her former beliefs or whether she was masking them in order to pursue an ambitious political agenda.

She says her views on LGBTQ issues have made a 180 degree turnaround.

But the reality isn’t clear. Gabbard’s aunt, in a letter published by the New Yorker Magazine in November 2017, made public her own concerns about Gabbard’s real political agenda, the status of her ties to the Science of Identity Foundation, and her praise of political strongmen here and abroad.

It has been noted that Gabbard’s Congressional staff and her campaign have included a number of individuals with ties to Science of Identity.

And, as others have reported, Gabbard’s campaign has gone to great lengths to insulate her from questions about her past and present ties to the group, stifling questions at campaign events and allegedly hounding reporters who have attempted to pursue the issue.

Christine Gralow, a Hawaii-based investigative reporter, is one of those who has done extensive digging into Gabbard’s past and present, and says she has suffered as a result.

Her reporting can be found at her website, “Meanwhile in Hawaii“. It is essential reading.

A piece published today in the Washington Monthly raises again the question of Gabbard’s cult background, and asks, “Can Democrats trust Tusi Gabbard?” ….

read … Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential fantasy: “A remarkably bad launch”




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