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Thursday, July 18, 2019
July 18, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:51 PM :: 3237 Views

Mauna Kea: Ige Signs Proclamation 'To Prevent Lawless Violence'

Mauna Kea Protests: UH Releases Guidelines for Staff

Caldwell in DC for Schatz Climate Hearing

Will Hawaii be the next Puerto Rico?

Hawaii 3rd Lowest Youth Poverty

Hawaii Pension Funds Only 55% Funded

OHA-Funded ‘Immersion Schools’ Behind Telescope Protests

HNN: … Native Hawaiians say today a new generation of leaders -- many of whom were educated through Hawaiian immersion schools -- are leading the charge.

"The young people are committed they are dedicated, they are well versed in their kuleana, they are well versed in how to do kapu aloha and how to handle themselves when they are being confronted, they know exactly what to do," said cultural practitioner Vicky Holt Takamine.

One of those leaders, Kaho'okahi Kanuha, who says Governor Ige can blame himself for what he's dealing with today. Kanuha says it was Ige who helped start the first Hawaiian Immersion schools which led to a resurgence of culture in a new generation….

read … TMT protests: Uprising or continuation of Hawaiian Renaissance?

Mood Changed when Honolulu Officers Arrive

HNN: … The arrests of protesters blocking the Mauna Kea Access Road started around 8 a.m. and continued until about 11 a.m., when they stopped abruptly.

Authorities said the 33 arrested ― most of them kupuna ― all elected to get cited with a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of a government operation, rather than being booked at the Hilo police station.

Despite the arrests, the protest at the base of the summit has remained peaceful, with some going so far as to embrace law enforcement officers before they were taken into custody.

Around 11:30 a.m., however, the mood of protesters dramatically changed when dozens of Honolulu police officers arrived on scene with batons, riot helmets and other gear.

The officers lined the road but did not move to make any arrests. Their presence spurred protesters to interlock their arms to create a human barrier across the roadway.

Over a loudspeaker, police told protesters: “If you stay off the road, we will not take action.”

The Honolulu officers left the scene about 2:30 p.m., after protesters agreed to move cars blocking Daniel K. Inouye Highway so that the vital thoroughfare could be reopened….

read … Governor declares state of emergency after 33 arrests at TMT protest on Big Island

Astronomers: ‘We’re sort of dead in the water’

HTH: … The protests surrounding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea and the closure of the Maunakea Access Road affects not only the future of astronomy, but its present, as well, according to astronomers who use the telescopes already in place on the mountain.

Andrea Ghez, a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA and science adviser to W.M Keck Observatory and TMT, has a 10-member team on the island this week to observe the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the galactic home of Earth.

Ghez and her team were immediately affected by the decision made Tuesday to remove all observatory staff from the mountain for safety reasons.

“The way this closure is affecting us is we had a night of observing time (Tuesday) we lost due to the closure,” said Ghez, who acknowledged scientists do their observations remotely at the observatory’s base station in Waimea. “We need the observatory staff to be at the summit to operate the telescope. When they’re not on the summit, we can’t do our observations.”…

Nadine Manset, resident astronomer and astronomy group manager at Canada France Hawaii Telescope, said operations at CFHT also have been brought to a standstill.

“If we cannot perform operations, we’re sort of dead in the water until we can resume operations,” Manset said. “… We serve astronomers in Canada, in France and also astronomers from the University of Hawaii. The observatories on top Maunakea serve an international community. … So it’s really international, the effect of this situation.”…

Both scientists said they have no idea how long the shutdown of the observatories will last….

read … Astronomers: ‘We’re sort of dead in the water’

Caldwell-Controlled Ethics Commission Defends Decisions On Kealohas

CB: … Victoria Marks, a retired judge who now heads the Honolulu Ethics Commission, issued a challenge Wednesday to those seeking to undermine her agency.

Bring it.

“If anybody wants to investigate this commission in any way, shape or form I invite it,” Marks said. “I have absolutely nothing to hide.”

The ethics commission is under renewed scrutiny for how it handled a series of investigations into retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, who is a former city prosecutor….

The ethics commission had launched a series of investigations into the Kealohas in 2014.

Those inquiries stalled in 2015, however, after the commission yanked its main investigators, Chuck Totto and Letha DeCaires, from the case and made a series of decisions that effectively ended their careers.

The commission ultimately refused to renewDeCaires employment contract and Totto, the executive director, resigned after a highly public disagreement with the commission over what have been seen as unwarranted restrictions on his work.

On Wednesday, Marks held a public meeting to address the commission’s chronology of actions in regards to the Kealohas.

She also addressed Totto’s departure in 2016, which she described as voluntary.

“The commission wants to set some things straight,” Marks said. “There’s been a good deal of misinformation and we’d like to present the facts as we know them.”

Marks said Totto was pulled from the Kealoha investigation because the couple had filed several complaints against him and DeCaires as well as other legal challenges against the commission as a whole.

To avoid the conflicts, she said, the commission hired Lincoln Ashida, an outside investigator, in December 2015 to pursue the ethics case.

The commission also hired a second investigator, Barbara Petrus, in April 2016 to look into the complaints the Kealohas filed against Totto and DeCaires.

All of those cases are still pending, Marks said.

One point Marks repeatedly tried to make clear Wednesday was that Totto left the commission of his own accord and that it had “nothing to do with the Kealohas.”

Totto, of course, disagreed with that assertion….

The former ethics director attended Wednesday’s meeting and testified before the commission about how his investigation played out in real time and how he never received the support he needed to effectively take on the politically influential law enforcement couple.

“People make mistakes and so do government agencies,” Totto said.

“The ethics commission did not carry out its duty to the public to properly investigate the Kealohas. We’ve heard some reasons as to why that was, but I don’t buy those reasons.”

Totto was the executive director of the Honolulu Ethics Commission for 16 years before he resigned in June 2016.

His last few years were marked by conflicts with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and others in his administration, which was constantly meddling with the commission’s budget and blocking access to information needed to carry out ethics probes.

Totto had the support of the commissioners early on, but then Caldwell appointed three retired judges — Marks, Riki May Amano and Allene Suemori — to the commission.

Almost immediately their impact was felt. They tried to block Totto from speaking to the press, they forced him to track his days in six-minute intervals and they slapped him with a 30-day suspension.

According to Totto, the interference continued when he tried to take on the Kealohas….

read … Defiant Ethics Commission Defends Decisions On Kealohas

Hawaii Governor Keeps His Official Visitor List Under Wraps

CB: … David Ige’s office says he does not keep track of his visitors, raising transparency concerns….

Ige’s public calendar only lists the governor’s public appearances. And recently the months of May and June were almost completely blank, with the resumption of more calendar entries coinciding with a follow-up Civil Beat inquiry in late June….

there is no visitor log because Ige does not want to discourage visitors by revealing them publicly.

“The governor has always said that he feels it’s important for people to be comfortable coming to see him,” McMillan said, “and that he believes that if he released all of his calendar appointments, that people would cease to feel comfortable coming to visit him.”…

read … Hawaii Governor Keeps His Official Visitor List Under Wraps

More Rate Hikes Coming as HEI Closes Cheapest Energy Plants

PBN: … The first phase of the approved four-year, $86.3 million, plan will begin later this year. This includes installing advanced meters, and launching a meter data management system and a telecommunications network for advanced meters and field devices. The cost of the first phase for a typical residential customer on Oahu would be 24 cents a month; 34 cents a month on Maui; 27 cents on Molokai and Lanai, and 55 cents a month on the Big Island. The cost for phase two has not been determined yet.

"We needed even more projects in the pipeline," Jim Kelly, a spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric, told Pacific Business News. "This is a push to really transform how we generate electric by moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewables."

Hawaiian Electric estimates that approximately 900 MW of new renewables are being evaluated, which would potentially generate about 2 million megawatt-hours annually.

The new renewable generation targets are set at 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu; 135 MW for Maui, and 32 to 203 MW for the Big Island.

Reaching this target depends on what renewable energy projects become available and the constraints of technology and geography. Proposals for Molokai and Lanai will be looked into later this summer.

Additional renewable generation for the Big Island is being reviewed — with the assumption that the Puna Geothermal Venture plant and the Hu Honua biomass plant come online as expected.

The Puna plant is estimated to reopen by the end of year, and the PUC reopened the power purchase agreement for the Hu Honua plant….

read … Hawaiian Electric pursues phase two of renewable energy initiative

How Taxes and a High Cost of Living are Prompting Residents to Leave the State

BC: … The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Shines a Light on Key Issues ….

read … How Taxes and a High Cost of Living are Prompting Residents to Leave the State

Homeless Criminal arrested in Maui arson incident that triggered massive wildfire

HNN: … County officials say Holden Bingham was arrested just before 7:30 p.m. Monday evening on suspicion of first-degree arson.

The 28-year-old man, who has no local address, was released pending further investigation, but is still being held on unrelated arrest warrants, according to Maui County.

Bingham is a convicted felon who has previously been incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center. He recently agreed to be interviewed by Hawaii News Now for a story on the conditions at the overcrowded facility….

FB: Holden Bingham discusses conditions after Maui Jail Riot

read … Suspect arrested in Maui arson incident that triggered massive wildfire

Canoe Club Threatened by Homeless Child Molester

HNN:  … Recently, paddlers said they’d noticed welcome changes in the water.

Gino Dayton, the head of Keola O Ke Kai Canoe Club, said the improvements came after the government evicted a massive homeless camp just upstream at the Nimitz viaduct.

“We’ve seen life come back to the ocean. The turtles are coming in again. Stuff that we haven’t seen in the past 20 years,” Dayton said.

Now, he said, the concern is the land….

Dayton says his club started having problems when rail construction displaced squatters that once lived under the bridge. During the day, there’s just a handful of campers.

But, he says, that changes in the afternoon.

“You’ll have 20 to 30 of them that will come in and find their spots,” said Dayton.

Over the past year, the club’s equipment box has been broken into. The bathrooms have been vandalized. Canoes have been damaged. Dayton even found an ama ― the float of an outrigger canoe ― that had been stolen, snapped in half under the Nimitz viaduct.

He says the group of squatters isn’t just people down on their luck. They’ve encountered people who are mentally ill, drug users, even a child predator.

“One of them tried to lure eight and 10-year-old sisters into the men’s restroom by telling them I’ll show you my private parts," Dayton said….

He also asked the city if it had plans to repair a comfort station at the park that was set on fire back three years ago….

read … Child Molester





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