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Monday, January 28, 2019
January 28, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:46 AM :: 3859 Views

Naming Names: Hawaii Politicians Profit from Sub-Minimum Wage Sweatshops for the Disabled

Conflict of Interest? Judiciary Debunks Ozawa

Public pension crisis? We're on it!

Judicial Vacancy: Family Judge, First Circuit, Oahu

UH to Cut Tuition Rates

A New Public Corruption Scandal Looms For Hawaii

CB: … “If you’re an investigator, the questions you might be asking now are: How did you know who to approach in a state agency who would be willing to take a paper bag full of cash? What other corporations are doing this? And what other companies are getting contracts like this? It’s going to be huge,” he said….

In its online database, the State Procurement Office lists four contracts awarded to Lyon Associates that date as far back as 2015. However, the $2.5 million Hawaii contract featured in Lyon’s plea deal was signed “in or around” 2012….

Much of the procurement office’s contract data was purged, agency officials explained, when they moved to a new system in 2017. Attempts to find any contracts that don’t appear there should be directed to the state agencies that issued them, they added…

Lyon’s most recent contract listed in the database was a nearly $2 million award issued by the state’s Department of Transportation to help manage construction at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, which has been undergoing a major, years-long renovation effort.

The state DOT previously awarded Lyon at least one other contract that’s not included in the procurement database.

In 2014, Lyon received a $2.5 million award to help manage the airport’s “Taxiway Z” project,  according to agency spokesman Tim Sakahara. The effort aimed to refurbish the airport’s main taxiway for international flights.

Lyon’s other awards listed in the database were for professional services contracts at the state departments of Hawaiian Homelands and Human Services, as well as for Maui County.

On Oahu, his company has done at least $400,000 worth of landslide monitoring for the city’s Department of Design and Construction, according to Lyon’s nomination form to serve on the zoning appeals board.

The company has also worked on Honolulu’s rail project — in December 2017 it was awarded a $60,000 “Kamehameha Highway Civil Design” contract. Lyon further worked as a subcontractor for rail. The company helped the joint venture Kiewit/Kobayashi build the system’s operations center in Waipahu….

In 2016, one of the company’s former presidents, Ronald Gonzales, sued Lyon Associates for failing to pay him a $113,000 severance agreement.

Gonzales’ suit also cites Hawaii’s Whistleblower Protection Act. He alleges that before he was fired, Gonzales had alerted Lyon to illegal activity at the company, including “criminal property damage, failure to pay wages and salaries, falsified and fraudulent official documents, sexual harassment of employees and terroristic threatening.”

Gonzales declined to comment on Friday, citing the pending litigation. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Lyon Associates contends in its court documents that Gonzales was fired for misconduct.

In a separate lawsuit filed last year, Troy, Mich.-based Leasing Corporation of America alleges that Lyon Associates defaulted on an equipment lease and still owes more than $233,000.

Court records show Lyon never responded to the suit….

read … A New Public Corruption Scandal Looms For Hawaii

Ige Opposed School Choice Vouchers for Preschools

Borreca: … Last week Gov. David Ige gave a full-throated endorsement of a plan that already had the support of his political ally, the Hawaii State Teachers Association. It was an issue that Ige had rejected back in 2014 when he opposed then-incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s plan in the Democratic primary that Abercrombie lost.

Back then, Ige said he understood the importance of early education, but added that Abercrombie’s plan to frame a state Constitutional amendment allowing public funds to go to private preschools wasn’t the answer.

“I just think that the plan is not well-conceived. There are not sufficient private providers. They’re not in the communities that they’re most need. And the cost is overwhelming,” Ige said in a 2014 Honolulu Star-Advertiser interview.

Ige’s thinking closely paralleled the HSTA, which drove the opposition to the amendment because it feared that the payments would lead to a private voucher program. The amendment failed in the 2014 general election.

The union wanted public preschools at public schools, staffed by public school teachers. Ige answered the union’s call in this year’s State of the State speech, saying, “We must create a universal, statewide high-quality public preschool system.”…

read … Abercrombie’s preschool actions then are building blocks for Ige’s program today

WSJ Editorial: Tulsi Gabbard Could Force Democrats to have a Foreign Policy

WSJ Editorial:  … The left is ascendant in the Democratic Party, as likely presidential candidates outdo each other with promises of free college, single-payer health care and a guaranteed income. Yet the party’s direction on foreign policy is still up for grabs, which makes Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential bid more interesting.

Elizabeth Warren says “it’s time to create a foreign policy that works for all Americans,” whatever that means. Kamala Harris vows not to conduct international relations by tweet, while Kirsten Gillibrand promises the opposite of whatever President Trump does.

Ms. Gabbard is different in making foreign policy a focus. “There is one main issue that is central to the rest and that is the issue of war and peace,” said the four-term Hawaii Congresswoman, 37, in a recent CNN appearance announcing her candidacy. Her vision for a more limited American role in the world will be the campaign’s central theme….

Her ideas would make the world less safe and prosperous, but at least she doesn’t hide her isolationism as other Democrats do….

But her occasional heterodoxy might be useful in questioning some of the identity-politics excesses of other Democrats. In December Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono criticized a judicial nominee’s membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic social and charity group. Ms. Gabbard, the first Hindu in Congress, wrote in the Hill newspaper that “no American should be asked to renounce his or her faith or membership in a faith-based, service organization in order to hold public office.” A Democratic primary debate moderator should ask whether other candidates agree.

Ms. Gabbard is a presidential longshot, but she’s more than a gadfly. She could be useful in helping voters cut through Democratic talking points to see what they really believe ….

IE: Why the Left hates Tulsi Gabbard

read … Despite her affinity for Assad, she sometimes raises good questions.

Atooi Attack: Honolulu Prosecutor Making Way for State AG to File Charges?

SA:  … The city prosecutor has filed papers in Honolulu District court to dismiss charges against five men who were arrested in a failed attempt to seize the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The prosecutor filed papers last Thursday asking the court to dismiss the case, pending further investigation, with the opportunity to refile the charges later.

The Honolulu Police Department says it has turned over the investigation to the state Department of the Attorney General….

Conviction on the misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor crimes could prevent the state pursuing more serious charges….

read … Prosecutor moves to dismiss charges in failed OHA takeover

Star-Adv: PUC Should Put Palehua Windfarm on Hold

SA Editorial: … The apparent threat that turbine towers and blades pose to native bats and birds should prompt a thorough review before — rather than after (as is the current routine) — the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) signs off on wind power purchase agreements.

According to a state report issued in 2017, five wind farms in the islands have killed an estimated 146 Hawaiian hoary bats over a span of six years despite a limit of 187 deaths over 20 years.

In the case of Palehua Wind, Hawaiian Electric Co. inked a power purchase agreement with the farm in November, which is now before the PUC for review. While the prospective partners have nailed down specifics such as expected customer kilowatt savings, there’s less certainty on risks confronting the endangered bat and other wildlife.

Late last month, the U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service weighed in. In a letter submitted to the PUC it asked the commission to “delay approval of any new wind facility (power purchase agreements) PPAs” until the project’s “proponents” meet with the federal agency and state wildlife officials.

The PUC should heed that request….

read … Wind project must allay wildlife issues

Civil Beat: Real Carbon Tax to Pay for Fake Sea Level Rise

CB: … Where should the state armor its shoreline against rising seas and where should residents and businesses retreat?

Should Hawaii start setting money aside now to relocate coastal highways that are forecast to be underwater in the coming years?

Should the state institute a carbon tax or some other fee on fossil fuels to incentivize burning less greenhouse gases while creating a fund that helps residents adapt to a changing climate?

Should homeowners have to disclose to prospective buyers that their property is expected to be inundated by water within the next couple decades?

Should future developments have to plan for this new reality or be prohibited from building so close to the shore altogether?….

Reality for the few who can handle it: Sea Level Rise? Nonsense, Oahu is Rising From the Sea for Next 1.5M Years

read … Fake Fake Fake—Except for the tax hike, that’s real

It Begins: $130K Fine for Illegal TVR

KGI: … The owners of a vacation rental property on the Wailua River may be fined $130,000 for violating county zoning ordinances.

The Kauai County Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously adopted the recommendation of its hearing officer in favor of the Planning Department’s decision to fine landowners Greg and Joanne Allen for operating an illegal transient vacation rental in Wailua….

read … Commission recommends $130,000 fine

Gangrene and Maggots Before one Mentally Ill Homeless Finally Accepts Shelter

SA: … John Cruz — who was better known as Mango Man during the decades he spent as a fixture along Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe and later along Hamakua Drive in Kailua — now lives a simple, quiet life by the shoreline in a private rental unit in Kahaluu.

At the age of 69, the story of Cruz’s life and how he ended up homeless — including getting hit by a vehicle that years later cost him his festering left leg — remains as uncertain as his future.

“A lot of people thought he was dead,” said Dr. Chad Koyanagi, psychiatrist for the Institute for Human Serv­ices, which operates Hawaii’s largest homeless shelters and is responsible for homeless outreach services for Windward Oahu.

In December 2016 Cruz was found by Koyanagi and Honolulu police, firefighters and paramedics at the bridge next to Fire­stone Complete Auto Care along Hamakua Drive. Maggots were crawling from a rotting hole in his infected leg, exposing the metal support that was surgically inserted after he was hit by a vehicle years before.

“You could see the hardware. You could see the metal sticking out of his knee,” Koyanagi said. “The leg was infected, and maggots were pouring out of the hole. Then it had to be cut off.” …

read … About the Inhumane decision to close the insane asylums

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