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Thursday, January 31, 2019
January 31, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:16 PM :: 3351 Views

Lyon Bribes: Caldwell Appoints Crook to Zoning Board After Receiving $16.5K

Medicaid Fraud: DHS Still Not Doing the Real Work

Republicans Call for Testimony on Bills

Rep Thielen: Power, Drugs and Imminent Danger Top Concerns

Third Circuit Seeking Applicants for Independent Grand Jury Counsel

Applicants Wanted for State Ethics Commission

Board of Agriculture Chair Resigns After Two Weeks on Job

Ige Launches 5-Year Plan for Early Childhood Education

Broken Trust Flashback: Rep Holt Pushes Thru Increased Funding for OHA

HNN: … The House Committee on Water, Land & Hawaiian Affairs today passed out HB 402 which establishes $35 million as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' pro rata share of the public land trust and transfers a lump sum of $139 million to OHA for underpayment of the public land trust funds.

The bill also requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to provide an annual accounting of receipts from lands described in Section 5(f) of the Admission Act and establishes a committee to recommend the annual amount of the income and proceeds from the public land trust that OHA will receive annually.

Representative Daniel Holt (Kalihi, Pālama, Iwilei, Chinatown), co-chair of the Hawaiian Caucus, issued the following statement (blablabla) ….

(Translation: The Holt political family is back doing the usual Holt stuff.)


read … Increased funding for OHA approved by House Committee

Critical reporting needed on self-proclaimed sovereigns

ILind: …They assaulted a couple of OHA staff, harassed and intimidated others, announcing that they were there to “seize” assets. The men were dressed in red or black t-shirts identifying them as “federal marshalls,” most also displaying badges. Police were called, but did not take aggressive action in the face of the invasion. After a couple of hours (?), police arrested four men for misdemeanor assault, and one for suspicion of harassment. They were quickly released on $100 bail each. The others involved in the takeover were not detained.

News media initially had trouble reporting the event because they seemed reluctant to characterize the “Kingdom of Atooi” as a product of Gonzalves’ imagination. Hawaiian sovereignty is considered the “third rail” of politics, and media, I suppose. The rule of thumb seems to be, “don’t touch it if you don’t have to.”….

Gonzalves and his “Kingdom” crew have been around for some time on Kauai, bringing in cash through donations, by selling “Kingdom” drivers licenses and passports, even trying to float their own currency. There are probably other schemes as well….

One thing different in the case of the OHA-Atooi incident is that other mainstream Hawaiian leaders and organizations came forward later to publicly condemn the assault on OHA headquarters. This is pretty atypical. Hawaiians have usually stood aside, not supporting but not publicly disclaiming actions by the various pretenders to the throne….

Despite this moment of welcome candor in speaking of Gonsalves Atooi, the news media failed to follow-up with this and other statements shared during a press conference a week after the attempted OHA takeover. The follow-up questions that should have been asked are obvious, but they remained unasked and the broader meaning of this unified response to the Kingdo of Atooi remains unrecognized….

CB: “No group of dudes claiming some kind of royal authority, calling women bitches, are going to lead us to the finish line

read … Critical reporting needed on self-proclaimed sovereigns

Some Question Calls For Tougher Penalties On OHA Takeover Group

CB: … The show of unity belied continuing tensions. Kaleikoa Kaeo, a longtime Native Hawaiian activist from Maui, says he and several other activists chose not to attend the press conference at OHA because they disagreed with calls for harsher punishments for the Kingdom of Atooi members in part because that could set a bad precedent for future activism.

Kaeo says he condemns the men’s violent tactics, but understands where they’re coming from because he and a lot of Hawaiians are frustrated with OHA’s policies and management of Hawaiian resources. The agency is the subject of both state and federal investigations into misspending and public corruption.

Kaeo also questions where OHA’s outrage was when he and other activists were arrested and charged by the state for protesting telescope construction on Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner was among the many officials who did attend last week’s press conference. To Kaeo, Lassner “represents the interest of those who want to maintain the exploitation of our sacred sites.”

It’s moments like that when “the Office of Hawaiian Affairs really shows itself as really being part of the state and its apparatus,” Kaeo said.

“To me it just reeked of OHA’s privilege and their power,” said Long.

She said even though the Kingdom of Atooi isn’t really taken seriously by the broader Hawaiian sovereignty movement — the word “Atooi”  is a misspelling of Kauai by a European mapmaker — she didn’t like distinctions being drawn at the press conference between “what is a good Hawaiian or bad Hawaiian, what counts as sovereignty and what doesn’t.”

“You can say that your dysfunctional family member is not part of the family but they’re ultimately part of the family,” Long said.

Noelani Goodyear-Ka’ōpua, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii, also took issue with the calls for harsher penalties, noting that OHA has conducted research showing how the criminal justice system disproportionately punishes people of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

“Why would we then call for that system to be the one to deal with these men?” she asked. “It’s completely ironic to me that OHA would be the ones to release that study and that data and OHA would be the one calling for that very system to deal with these ones.”…

Flashback: Video: Crying Police Apologize to Telescope Protesters

read … Some Question Calls For Tougher Penalties On OHA Takeover Group

Pre-K: Who Will Control Cash Flow, Positions?

CB: … Renewed attention to universal pre-K in Hawaii has put into sharper focus the relationship between the DOE, which oversees the state’s entire K-12 network of 256 public schools, and the EOEL, an agency established in 2012 to oversee the early childcare system from the prenatal stage through kindergarten entry. EOEL is funded through the state Department of Education but is a separate entity.

The inherent tension between DOE and EOEL lies in who should be administering the pre-K programs and how decisions are made on where to introduce new pre-K classrooms.

The leaders of those systems — DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and EOEL’s Moriguchi — say the public pre-K expansion has always been a collaborative effort, but the tenor of questions they’ve been peppered with by lawmakers at the Capitol lately doesn’t exactly suggest a seamless partnership.

“My confusion is that the authority to plot the course for early education lies with the EOEL and not the DOE,” Kidani said to Moriguchi during a DOE budget briefing to the Senate Ways and Means and Education committees earlier this month. “I don’t see the need for an EOEL if you’re leaving all the decisions up to the DOE. We’re duplicating services and duplicating expenses.”

Other lawmakers seemed frustrated by the pace of the rollout of new classrooms. Sen. Kurt Fevella said at the same briefing that his Ewa district lacks public pre-K classrooms and expressed irritation when Moriguchi said there must be principal buy-in to establish a pre-K classroom at any given school.

“We have you guys here collecting the money, and you give it to DOE, and DOE goes to select (the school). If the principal opts in or opts out, I don’t think that’s fair, but I think every single elementary school should be on this list,” Fevella said, holding up a list of DOE schools with pre-K classrooms.

The DOE is in charge of the K-12 public school system, including facilities, classroom renovations, principals, teachers, assessments and standards. The EOEL is tasked with ensuring the public pre-K program is not just expanding but also “high-quality,” meaning teachers are equipped with the right training and know what they’re doing.

Otherwise, Moriguchi said, “the programs can actually be harmful to students.”….

SA: Leaders sign early-childhood support plan

read … Its for the keiki, really…

Key Lawmakers Are Trying To Water Down Inspection Rules For Elder Care Homes

CB: …House and Senate bills would undercut a new law that requires unannounced state inspections of care homes by making those optional….

House Bill 692, co-sponsored by Reps. Joy San Buenaventura, Calvin Say and James Tokioka, would make the Department of Health’s unannounced inspections of care facilities discretionary….

Mizuno’s counterpart in the Senate, Roz Baker, has introduced a companion measure that has an easier path. Senate Bill 525 was only referred to the Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee, which she chairs.

Mizuno, Buenaventura, Say, Tokioka and Baker all (pretended to) voted in favor of the 2016 law to implement unannounced inspections starting this July. The 25-member Senate passed it unanimously and it cleared the 51-member House with just six no votes….

(Clue: Board and care homes ‘vote’ their patients.)

read … Key Lawmakers Are Trying To Water Down Inspection Rules For Elder Care Homes

Are Illegal Rentals Causing Property Tax Increases in Hawaii?

MG: … Some homeowners are seeing increases because of this problem, but it’s not widespread….

read … Are Illegal Rentals Causing Property Tax Increases in Hawaii?

Communities Challenge Some Hawai`i Renewable Energy Projects

IM: … The PUC maintains a searchable document system that includes virtually all filings in close to 10,000 dockets opened since 1998.

We examine several renewable energy disputes: Kahe Wind Farm, Imperium Renewables, Big Wind, Aina Koa Pono, Hu Honua, Puna Geothermal Ventures, HC&S, Gas Company, Kahuku Wind Farm, and Paeahu Solar….

One of the seven solar projects submitted to the PUC on December 31, 2018, is the Paeahu Solar Project by Innergex, a 15 MW solar plus battery facility on Ulupalakua Ranch in South Maui.

Pono Power Coalition, represented by Lance David Collins, filed a sophisticated and legalistic motion to intervene. …

read … Communities Challenge Some Hawai`i Renewable Energy Projects

Kauai County audit reveals accounting backlog, purchase card misuse

KGI: …the firm conducting the audit also issued an advisory report to the county regarding several management issues.

At the Kauai County Council meeting last week, Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama said the finance department has only completed the quarterly cash counts through November 2017….

Auditors also found that mandatory reconciliations between county ledgers and bank account balances from December 2017 were not completed until June, and bank reconciliations from January through June were not finished until September….

… Random testing by the county’s Division of Purchasing and the auditors uncovered a number of instances last year in which county employees did not follow appropriate procedures when getting approval for county-issued credit card purchases.

County employees are required to get approval from department heads prior to making purchases using their county-issued cards.

But in several cases, approval was made after the purchase.

One purchase was made by an employee that was not authorized to use the card, and in one instance, a purchase was made without ever obtaining approval.

And according to Matsuyama more instances of P-Card misuse have already been found since auditors finished their assessment, which covered the previous fiscal year, ending June 30.

“We have found exceptions already this fiscal year, and we’re going to implement subsequent testing on the culprits,” Matsuyama said. “We’ll be more forceful in our punishments, including potential revocation of the card.” …

Housing Director Kanani Fu also appeared before the council to explain another discrepancy in the auditors’ report.

Auditors found that $380,000 approved by the county to pay a contractor for work on an affordable housing development was not reimbursible through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, as initially anticipated….

Link: Kauai Co Auditor

read … County audit reveals accounting backlog, purchase card misuse

A rescue boat that cost taxpayers $118K sits mostly idle in a Kewalo Basin yard

HNN: … When Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled the new rescue boat at Kewalo Basin nearly three years ago, state and city officials said it would improve emergency response along Oahu’s south shore.

But since then, the boat has sit mostly idle in a Kewalo Basin yard, used occasionally for large-scale events such as escorting the Hokulea and ocean safety activities during the Fourth of July Flotilla and rough water swim events….

Back in 2014, the state paid $118,000 for the 21-foot Guardian Boston Whaler, then donated its use to the city Department of Emergency Services.

But the city said it has not used the boat for individual rescues, such as last month’s rescue of a jet pilot who crashed off of Kewalo Basin. It said the fighter pilot was rescued immediately by a private boat in the area.

The city also said it doesn’t have the personnel to assign to the boat full time.

Most of the city’s lifeguards in the downtown area are trained to use jet skis and aren’t trained to conduct rescues with this boat….

read … A rescue boat that cost taxpayers $118K sits mostly idle in a Kewalo Basin yard

Bishop Museum Agrees Not to Sell Waipio Valley Lands

HTH: … Ide said there are a “few dozen” lessees using the museum’s Waipio lands, and in November the museum was able to put those lease holders on five-year leases. Some of them have leased land from Bishop Museum for generations.

Bishop Museum also “reinstated a preamble to the leases which also recognizes the role of taro farmers in stewarding the cultural heritage of the valley,” Ide said. “So they’re really doing more than farming. It’s really a continuation of the cultural heritage that is being maintained by their farming. Our goal is to support that and protect that so it can continue.”

“From my own experience as a Bishop Museum lessee over the past 30 years, it’s been on pretty shaky ground and a major concern has been for our future on the land,” said Doug Genovia, a taro farmer whose family has leased land from the museum in Waipio Valley for more than 50 years, in the release. “But in just the last year, there’s been a significant change, which makes me feel more hopeful of a brighter future for all of us who are Bishop Museum lessees. Together, with Bishop Museum’s leadership, I believe we have a much better chance now — to protect our cultural traditions and perpetuate Waipio as a ‘wahi pana.’”

The museum also announced in 2016 that it would seek a buyer for the 15-acre Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook.

Ide said that property currently is still for sale, and the museum is continuing discussions with the Friends of Amy B.H. Greenwell Garden to find a solution for the long-term stewardship of the property….

read … Keeping Waipio

The number of unvaccinated kindergartners grew again in Hawaii last year

HNN: … In the 2017-18 school year, some 518 kindergarten students at public and private schools in the islands got vaccination exemptions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just four of those exemptions were for medical reasons.

While those who aren’t vaccinated make up just about 1 percent of all Hawaii kindergartners, the number of students at the grade level who aren’t immunized continues to rise.

In 2016-17, there were 474 kindergartners who weren’t vaccinated ― with 20 claiming a medical exemption.

In 2012-13, the CDC reported 156 kindergarten students in Hawaii who weren’t vaccinated….

HNN: Unvaxxed WA Tourists Bring Measles to Hawaii

read … The number of unvaccinated kindergartners grew again in Hawaii last year

Soft on Crime: Tranny has 8 Priors—out on Street Does it Again

HNN: … Kiara Demyra, aka Rocky Gouveia, is wanted by Honolulu police and CrimeStoppers on a $20,000 bench warrant for failing to comply with terms and conditions of drug court.

CrimeStoppers said the 28-year-old is tied to a theft at a high-end Waikiki department store….

Demyra has eight prior convictions as is known to frequent the Honolulu area….

2016: Tranny Robs dude in Chinatown

read … Man-accused-stealing-an-upscale-Waikiki-store

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