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Sunday, July 28, 2019
July 28, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 2614 Views

Mental healthcare in Hawaii: Young minds at risk

A Veil of Secrecy Around Revenue Estimates

TMT: ‘There are other discussions underway to find a resolution’

KITV: University of Hawaii President David Lassner is expected to visit Mauna Kea on Sunday….

Activists of Mauna Kea continue to take a stand against the Thirty Meter Telescope. "TMT officials have kept their distance, they have not communicated, they have not expressed any desire to communicate, and they have not come up here to see for themselves what is happening at the base of Mauna Kea," says opposition leader Kaho'okahi Kanuha….

"To the TMT board, we call upon you again. We can no longer pretend that you do not have any kuleana [responsibility] in this. We know that the mayor, to a certain extent, is powerless. We know that the governor, to a certain extent, is powerless. There are two sides, two parties, to this issue who hold kuleana; that is us, and that is you," continued Kanuha….

TMT's Hawaii spokesperson Scott Ishikawa says, "There have been many opportunities for dialogue, and we have had many conversations with those who support TMT and those who oppose it. During this time, some of the opponents chose not to have a conversation with us, as they pursued legal remedies. Now that we have fulfilled all of the legal requirements, it does not seem appropriate to engage in this way. There are other discussions underway to find a resolution to the wider, overriding issues concerning Native Hawaiians. This is a much larger issue than TMT and Maunakea."…

read … TMT opponents call out telescope's board to engage

Hawaii is a High-Tech Laughingstock—Thank a Protester

Borreca: … U.S. Census data shows the poverty rate in Hilo is 19.0%, the worst of all four counties by a long shot. One out of every 5.3 residents of Hilo lives in poverty.

Hawaii may top the ratings as the “happiest place to live” in the U.S., but it is the nation’s high-tech laughingstock.

Hawaii ranks 48th in terms of economic growth. Hawaii was ranked as the nation’s seventh least-innovative state by personal finance website WalletHub.

In June’s economic ranking, WalletHub put Hawaii the fourth worst in the nation, ranking 48th in terms of economic growth.

It is listed as 50th in high-tech jobs and 51st in economic activity.

If there was ever a place that needed some high-tech boosting, it would be Hawaii.

So it is staggering to see Hawaii being forced to reject the world’s biggest astronomical endeavor: the construction of the best telescope on the planet….

For one week, technicians trying to do their job on the summit have been blocked by activists.

This was a sudden and arrogant escalation, because it means that not only are the protesters stopping construction of the TMT, but now they have decided that no one except the protesters should be on the mountain.

“We will not allow TMT vehicles up, we will continue to monitor the road and ensure that Mauna Kea remains safe from further desecration,” protest leader Kaho‘okahi Kanuha said in this newspaper’s report.

“We are not willing to negotiate. We are not willing to compromise. Compromises have been made over and over and over again for the last 50 years through the mismanagement of Mauna Kea and way beyond.”

We learned how to share in kindergarten, but those who didn’t should not be allowed to set the destiny for a state in desperate need of educational, technological and scientific investment and advancement.

read … Rejection of TMT would be disastrous for growth of astronomy and technology in Hawaii

1960: Mauna Kea development started with an invitation

Cataluna: … To think it all started with a query letter shotgunned to a list of big universities. The message was, basically, “Hey, you should come check out our mountain. We think it would be great for a telescope.”

The island of Hawaii was struggling after the 1960 tsunami. Business and political leaders were looking for ways to rebuild and broaden the island’s economic base and were spitballing ideas, including wild suggestions like selling lava.

The suggestion of attracting astronomy to Mauna Kea was part of the mix. It wasn’t a new idea. A mountain that big and skies that clear make most people look up in wonder. But this time, it took on a different sheen.

This was during the frenzy of America’s Space Race with the Soviet Union. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space in 1961. Alan Shepard became the first American in space soon after. In September of ’62, President John F. Kennedy made his “We choose to go to the moon” speech and those letters from Hilo went out in June 1963.

The manager of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce took on the assignment of sending the letters to astronomy departments at Harvard, MIT, the University of Tokyo and other universities with astronomy research programs.

There was only one reply, and that was from Dr. Gerard Kuiper, who headed the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona. Kuiper is regarded as the father of modern planetary science, according to NASA. In fact, a region of space known as the Kuiper Belt is named after him.

He was also a big name in the moon race. He helped identify possible landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program. Kuiper accepted the invitation to fly to Hawaii and see Mauna Kea.

While America was competing with the Russians, there also was a bit of competition between Hawaiian islands. Maui’s Haleakala won the first telescope in Hawaii in 1958 for the simple reason there was a paved road to the Haleakala summit before there was a road to the top of Mauna Kea. After Kuiper’s initial visit, the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce convinced Gov. John Burns to have the state build a road up Mauna Kea.

Kuiper oversaw the building of the first telescope on Mauna Kea, which measured only 12-1/2 inches and was housed in a 12-1/2 foot dome. It was dedicated in July 1964….

read … Mauna Kea development started with an invitation

TMT: ‘Dismayed by False Accusations’

SA: …  We are dismayed by the many false accusations being spread. We are dismayed that TMT supporters are being shown such great disrespect that some have become afraid to speak publicly.

We have a lot of supporters in Hawaii and they are asking us not to leave.

TMT is a nonprofit organization. From the beginning, we approached the community, asking what was most needed, how we could help be part of this community, listening to what was said, and setting on a path to fulfill those needs. TMT brought into the process the Kahu Ku Mauna Council and other Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners to consult and give guidance along the way.

First, the community expressed very strong concern for the future of Hawaii island children, and rightfully so. As a result of the partnership, a number of benefits were devised that would answer that concern. Among them:

>> The Hawaii Island New Knowledge Fund (the THINK Fund) was established in 2014 to enable Hawaii island students to master STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and become a science and tech workforce for better-paying jobs in Hawaii. The THINK Fund was established and is funded by TMT and administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Pauahi Foundation. So far, the THINK Fund has benefitted more than 20,000 students and 97 schools and nonprofit organizations on Hawaii island. To date, TMT has provided more than $5 million to the THINK Fund and will continue to invest $1 million a year.

>> To develop and support Hawaii’s future workforce, TMT established and is ramping up to a $1 million a year investment in its Workforce Pipeline Program. For example, the Akamai Internship program provides college students with summer internships at observatories and other high-tech companies in Hawaii. We’ve funded Akamai with an additional $1.3 million. As of this date, the Akamai Workforce Initiative alumni include 36% women, 25% Native Hawaiians, and 47% underrepresented minorities.

Second, the community also expressed concern about the impact TMT might have on the environment and cultural/historical sites. We answered that through redesign of the development plan to address any potential impact, from view planes to waste disposal. All of that information is on our website at In addition, TMT agreed to pay annual lease rent ramping up to $1 million when operational — 80% goes to the Office of Maunakea Management for improved stewardship activities; 20% goes to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

TMT represents the pinnacle of human imagination and innovation, enabling in-depth understanding of the origins of our universe while pushing further the frontiers of human knowledge. As a new, powerful optical/near-infrared telescope, TMT will enable astronomers to see further out into our universe and reach back toward the beginning of time, facilitating unprecedented research and discovery….

read … Dismayed

Astronomers lament lost observation time, risk to Maunakea telescopes

HTH: … For nearly two weeks, no staff of the Maunakea Observatories have been able to access the telescopes at the mountain’s summit, save at the discretion of demonstrators occupying Maunakea Access Road.

The lack of access has put the observatories under significant strain.

“Basically, we’ve done zero observations since (July 16),” John O’Meara, chief scientist at W. M. Keck Observatory, said on Friday.

On July 16, the second day of the protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope project, the heads of the 12 observatories at the summit jointly chose to remove all staff at the summit out of concern for their safety. Since then, only a handful of technicians has been allowed up the road.

The telescopes on the summit will not be operated so long as access is blocked by protesters, for fear of a critical system failing without anybody on-site to fix it. While many of the telescopes can be remotely operated, they require personnel to access the site quickly to prevent potential damage to the instruments.

One such failure occurred last week at Gemini Observatory. Associate Director Andrew Adamson said several extremely sensitive detectors relied on a liquid helium cooling circuit to keep them at optimal temperatures.

That helium circuit had sprung a leak, Adamson said, which risked exposing the detectors to uncontrolled warming. Adamson explained that, should the cooling gases leak into the detectors themselves, they can thaw and then freeze again onto the detector, damaging it….

Adamson said he thinks Gemini is safe from other systems failures for the time being, but added that things can spontaneously go wrong.

While the failure of such cooling systems would likely not damage the telescopes themselves, Rich Matsuda, chief of operations at Keck Observatory, said the detectors that rely on the cooling systems are, in some cases, one-of-a-kind instruments that could not be replaced without millions of dollars and years of lead time.

Less quantifiable is the cost of the missed observation time. O’Meara said Keck had dozens of different projects scheduled for the past two weeks that will have to reapply for observation time, a process that likely will take months or years.

O’Meara said one project will not be able to reapply, however. That project, which would track the movement of a distant exoplanet, had only one window when observation would be possible within our lifetimes, which has now passed.

Adamson said most of Gemini’s missed observation projects have not depended on such brief timeframes, but added that there is no way to know about other missed opportunities.

“There could have been another ‘Oumuamua, and we would have no way of knowing,” he said, referring to the first, and so far only, interstellar object ever observed moving through our solar system, discovered in 2017 by the Pan-STARRS telescope on Haleakala.

“It’s impossible to assign a monetary value to (the missed observation time),” O’Meara said.

“Every day, something could happen that changes the science forever.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of observatory workers are unable to work, O’Meara said, explaining that Keck astronomers have transitioned to doing preparatory and documentation work in the meantime….

read … Astronomers lament lost observation time, risk to Maunakea telescopes

Crimes go unsolved as Honolulu Police Department copes with officer shortage

SA: … If your car was stolen or your home burglarized, chances are police won’t be following up with an investigation but rather with a letter essentially saying they won’t be following up.

The Honolulu Police Department has been short staffed for years, and in April 2018, soon after taking the reins, Chief Susan Ballard told the City Council the department had begun cutting services, including investigation of certain felony crimes by detectives.

To deal with the shortage of patrol officers, HPD spent $10.7 million on overtime in fiscal year 2019 to keep staffing of patrol districts at a minimum 80% level. Another $10 million was spent on other overtime use, for a total of $20.7 million.

“We are over budget,” Deputy Chief Jonathan Grems told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a July 12 interview.

Without overtime, overall staffing remains around 65%, the same as in late 2017 when Ballard became chief.

The $10.7 million in overtime didn’t cover staffing of the Criminal Investigation Division, whose detectives follow up on initial crime reports, find suspects and gather evidence to charge them and help prosecute the cases in court.

The department had 270 sworn- officer vacancies as of June out of a total of 2,143 sworn or uniformed personnel positions. Those numbers remain virtually unchanged since November 2017 when there were 250 vacancies out of about 2,100 sworn-officer positions….

To learn more or to chat online with a recruiter, go to

read … Crimes go unsolved as Honolulu Police Department copes with officer shortage

Caldwell Sent out Hundreds of TVR Letters based on Inaccurate “Pins’

HNN: … The letter reads: “Our preliminary investigation revealed that the above property or ones close to it, maybe involved in short term renting and advertising. You may not be directly involved in this commercial activity; perhaps it is a tenant. In any event, the law says the fee owner is ultimately accountable, including advertising the home as available for short term renting.”

After Richard Ubersax read the first sentence, he guessed the city sent him a letter based on “pins” that show up on hosting platform maps.

“To me, that was a flag, [DPP] looked at the pins and based on what I’ve found over the years, those pins are not accurately placed and that they [DPP] looked at the pins and said ‘ah-ha here’s one,’” Ubersax said.

His home is about a quarter-mile from the nearest rental that goes for $135 a night. The rental on one of the platforms shows it’s located in the woods in Waimanalo. But his house is located closest to that “pin.”

Ubersax knows there are several vacation rentals in his area and he studied the online hosting platforms two years ago when the city said it needed help on finding illegal rentals. That’s when he first learned how inaccurate the “location pins” are.

“I’m familiar which properties in Waimanalo are rentals and if you went to the website and identified the one you could see that the pins sometimes were as much as three or four blocks misplaced from where that rental actually was,” he explains.

After receiving close to 400 complaints up until Friday, the DPP admitted the mailed letters in fact were based on the “pins” used in advertising platform ads.

In a statement, the city said if the drop pins were not exact, it may have resulted in property owners receiving a letter even though they are not renting short-term….

read … Hundreds of homeowners surprised to receive letters from city accusing them of short term renting

Bill 89 shuts down vital local industry

SA: … On Aug. 1, Bill 89 will go into effect, dealing a deathblow to Oahu’s vibrant vacation rental businesses.

My wife and I are just two of the many Hawaii residents who will be hit in the pocketbook by this ill-conceived law, which effectively bans vacation rentals on Oahu outside resort areas.

Like many of our friends and neighbors, we have depended on a small vacation rental business as a source of income over the years, as we built a life together and prepared to grow old in our beautiful state….

read … Bill 89 shuts down vital local industry

Weds July 31 Deadline to Kill Ala Wai Flood Control Project?

SA: … the Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project is coming up against a deadline of sorts this week. On Wednesday, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project was to have executed an agreement on the local matching funds for the $345 million in federal money approved by Congress a year ago….

July 31 is noted more officially as a “milestone” date, and if it is not extended, that funding could be withdrawn. A decision on a possible extension is left up to the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, said Jeff Herzog, the Army Corps project manager…. 

read … More vetting for Ala Wai project





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