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Wednesday, August 7, 2019
August 7, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:52 PM :: 3249 Views

Open Letter to Surfrider: Drop Laniakea Suit Before Child is Killed

DHHL Seeks Developer for First Rental Complex at Moiliili Bowl-O-Drome Site

Honolulu's New Short-Term Rental Ordinance Challenged In Federal Court

BLNR Nominees Sought 

Hooser Claims he is not Running for Chair

Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Resigns

SA: … In a letter distributed to party members this afternoon, Lopez said her new job as AARP executive director has historically been a non-partisan position, which means she must resign from her post as head of the state party….

The Democrats’ state central committee will hold a meeting Saturday at 10 a.m. at the party headquarters at 627 South St. to elect an interim party chairman or chairwoman, according to a memo circulated to party members. Candidates for the office are required to submit a candidate nomination form, according to the memo.

Lopez, 58, is a longtime party activist and a professional lobbyist who served as director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs under former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. She was elected to a two-year term as party chair in May 2018.

She is registered as a lobbyist this year for the online travel and booking company Expedia Inc., the Hawaii Captive Insurance Council and the Western Plant Health Association, according to records on file with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission….

UPDATE: Kate Stanley Elected Chair of Hawaii Democratic Party

read … Kealii Lopez resigns as state Democratic Party chairwoman

Poll: After Month of Protests, 64% Still Back Telescope

CB: … a new Civil Beat Poll shows a solid majority of Hawaii residents support the project.

By a more than 2-to-1 margin — 64% to 31% — of registered voters in Hawaii who were polled say they favor building the state-of-the-art telescope, most of them strongly in support. Only 3% say they are unsure while another 3% say the issue does not matter to them.

They also do not like how Gov. David Ige has handled the TMT issue….

Only 21% of those surveyed have a positive opinion of the governor’s leadership on the issue compared to 53% who hold negative views….

support crosses most political ideologies and party affiliation, as well as income and education levels. Majorities of Caucasians, Japanese, Filipinos and Chinese say they back the TMT, too.

The same goes for voters on Oahu, Maui and Kauai but also Hawaii island, where Mauna Kea is the highest mountain and already home to 12 other telescopes and an astronomy industry with international ties.

But Native Hawaiians, in contrast, were more likely to oppose the telescope — 48% of those surveyed said they are against building the TMT, compared to 44% who support it.

There is also a wide generational split in views. Registered voters identifying as 50 years of age or older overwhelming support the telescope, with 74% in favor of building the project. By contrast, 54% of those surveyed under the age of 50 oppose the TMT, with just 42% supporting it….

The Civil Beat Poll surveyed 1,367 registered voters statewide Aug. 1-3. The results were weighted to reflect a mix of 60% landlines and 40% cell phones. The overall margin of error is 2.7 percentage points….

Merriman River Group, which has conducted surveys for Civil Beat since 2010, said the Civil Beat Poll on the TMT and Ige generated an unusually high volume of interest. Several hundred people gave Civil Beat permission to follow up with a conversation about how they answered the poll questions.

“I strongly support the telescope — I think it’s a good idea to be able to see into the sky,” said Gary Heiligman of Kailua, who is 73.

Heiligman, who is part-Hawaiian, said he is sympathetic to the protesters on the mountain but also understands the need for scientific discovery.

“It’s funny, but nothing ever came up about it being sacred until they brought it up,” he said, referring to the protests. “So why now?”…

PDF: Poll Details

read … Civil Beat Poll: Strong Support For TMT But Little Love For Ige

A bit of fake news from the protectors

ILind: … This photo was surfaced on Facebook yesterday in a post addressed to “protectors” of Mauna Kea.

The caption tells a story: “PROTECTORS FROM 1974 NEAR MAUNA KEA ROAD GOING UP WAIKI’I ROAD – one of the first stand off’s regarding the telescopes.  Uncle Sonny Kaniho, Uncle Andrew Akau along with almost all the Parker Ranch workers & there families, this is one of my first memories of my daddy standing to stop the trucks from bringing up the stuff for build the telescopes.”

It does seem to have struck a chord, as it has been reposted or shared by several others.

It is indeed a photo of Sonny Kaniho and Andrew Akau in 1974. But the caption is fiction. The photo has absolutely nothing to do with any telescopes, or stopping trucks from going up the road. That’s definitely a false narrative.

How do I know that it’s a fake story? It’s my photo. It contains my digital watermark. I took the photo back in 1974, during a protest high up on the Big Island’s Parker Ranch.

Kaniho was protesting policies of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that resulted in land being leased to private interests while thousands of Hawaiians sat on waiting lists for some of the same lands.

Kaniho’s protest involved removing a gate to a Parker Ranch pasture which was held under a lease from DHHL, entering the area, and symbolically claiming it for himself and other Hawaiians.

I was among a group of supporters who accompanied Kaniho and were cited for trespassing. ….

read … A bit of fake news from the protectors

Local contractors lose revenue during Mauna Kea demonstrations

KITV: … According to Mauna Kea Observatories scheduled projects on the summit are on hold for now. MKO says $4 million worth of construction contracts were awarded to more than a hundred companies that employ local staff.

Facilities at the W.M. Keck Observatory were slated to undergo photo voltaic installations this summer. Hilo based company, Sakoda Construction LLC says the project's delay forced owners to lay off staff.

"This represented about a quarter of our gross revenue for the year. So it's a lot of work to try and make up in other places," said contractor Adam Long.

Observatory personnel say they work with local companies on a regular basis on everything from maintenance to expansion projects….

"Observatories are really complex. There’s a lot of infrastructure in addition to the telescopes. Pumps and chillers. They are very vital to our full operations," said W.M. Keck Observatory Chief Operations Engineer Rich Matsuda.

Its been three weeks since MKO pulled staff completely off the summit ….

read … Local contractors lose revenue during Mauna Kea demonstrations

Employees of existing telescopes say they’re ‘collateral damage’ in TMT conflict

HNN: … From the first day of the Thirty Meter Telescope protest at the base of Mauna Kea, access to the summit has been debated. Leaders of the protest have repeatedly said they’ve accommodated astronomy technicians so they can make repairs, but engineers say the process going up isn’t easy.

In the meantime, the lack of research has frustrated scientists and technicians say they’re growing increasingly concerned about leaving the telescopes without regular maintenance.

A tech crew from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope went up to the summit last week to make hurricane preparations.

Operations Manager Ivan Look said that since last Friday they’ve been requesting access to the summit again because of a crane issue and just got approval Tuesday for a visit Wednesday.

"It's an involved process. I think we started last week Friday to try to get this move tomorrow and we just barely heard back," he said.

To get permission to access to the summit, astronomy technicians and engineers say they contact the University of Hawaii’s Office of Maunakea Management with a list of who needs to go up.

The agency informs law enforcement, which contacts leaders of the protest camp and then approval goes back through the chain.

“Then we drive up on the side access road to the Mauna Kea Access Road. We’re allowed to get back on the main road and then head up,” said Rich Matsuda, chief of operations at W.M. Keck Observatory.

About 500 people work at the summit of Mauna Kea. During the standoff, there’s been no research either ― from the summit or remotely.

"The employees really want to get back to work. They love what they do," said Matsuda….

Astronomy technicians say the instruments need daily maintenance, but it’s difficult to say when more permanent damage could start to happen….

KITV: Day 23: TMT opponents ask to be seen as human beings 'protecting their culture'

read … Employees of existing telescopes say they’re ‘collateral damage’ in TMT conflict

Simoleans: Kahele #2

CB: … In 2018, Sen. Russell Ruderman earned the most most money of any lawmaker. He received more than $1 million in income from Island Naturals Market—a Big Island-based chain of health food stores that he owns and operates—in addition to the $62,604 that he earns as a legislator.

Sen. Kai Kahele came in at a distant second.  He and his spouse, Maria Kahele, earned from $195,000 to $400,000 last year on top of Kahele’s state income. Of this total, Kahele earned $150,000 t0 $250,000 as a pilot with Hawaiian Airlines. The Kaheles also own an array of real estate, sharing nine different properties, seven of them in Tennessee.

In the House, Speaker Scott Saiki—a working attorney—reported the highest total income, receiving from $325,000 to $650,000 in addition to his legislative salary. That total includes the salary of his wife, Patsy Saiki, a senior vice president for First America Title.

Rep. Romy Cachola and his wife were the second biggest earners in the House, receiving a combined $260,000 to $525,000 in outside income.  Of this total, Cachola’s wife—Erlinda Cachola—earned $250,000 to $500,000 as a doctor running the Cachola Medical Clinic in Kalihi. Together, they own six properties throughout Hawaii….

Hooser: The mother’s milk of politics

read … Lawmakers’ Financial Disclosures Don’t Always Paint A Complete Picture

Judge to rule in Kauai TVR case

TGI: … The Kauai County Planning Department may be on the verge of losing its legal battle against the owners of vacation rental homes who refused to stop operations after their permits were revoked two years ago.

Although she didn’t make a ruling, Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe appeared to be leaning toward dismissing the county’s six lawsuits….

According to Gregory Kugle, the Honolulu attorney representing the consolidated interests of the six transient vacation rentals, owners, county officials revoked the TVR permits, not because they were submitted two weeks late, as stated in the planning commission’s ruling, but because a $750 fee was not enclosed in their renewal applications.

“All of these cases are fairly simple,” Kugle said. “Not once did the planning department contend that the permits were revoked for any reason other than timeliness.”…

read … Judge to rule in TVR case

City Council bill aims to ban single-use plastics

SA: … Expect Oahu business organizations and environmental groups to once again battle it out over a proposal to rid food service establishments of single-use plastics — from takeout containers, utensils and straws to carry-out bags.

Bill 40, the latest effort to ban foam containers and other non-compostable items for serving food, gets its first airing before the Honolulu City Council at its monthly meeting at 10 a.m. today at Kapolei Hale.

City Councilman Joey Manahan, who introduced the bill, said he intentionally kept the language in the initial draft of the bill broad because he wants to gauge what interest the current makeup of Council members has in passing a plastics ban….

KHON: “Restaurants, bakeries, and other businesses that provide prepared food were exempted from previous bans because the use of single use, plastic bags for them is a sanitation issue.”

read … City Council bill aims to ban single-use plastics

DoH: We Need More Money to Save Hawaii from Surfrider’s Fake Water Testing

SA: … The Department of Health routinely tests water quality at high-use recreational beaches where there is a threat of contamination. If high indicator bacterial counts are found, beach advisories are posted as a precautionary measure. In these situations, the Department of Health conducts follow-up testing on each subsequent work day and may undertake further tests to determine the underlying source for the bacteria if the elevated levels of indicator bacteria persist. Most often, the bacteria levels drop to normal levels within a day.

We have recently used an advanced DNA-based test tool called the PhyloChip, which can detect more than 59,000 bacteria species that are unique to different sources. It can even detect variations within a gene to identify different bacteria strains. On Kauai, a recent study confirmed the high levels of bacteria in several streams on the West side that were not caused by human or animal fecal contamination. Based on this study, we can say there is little or no health risk of sewage or animal waste contamination at a beach.

Today, we use the same EPA-approved indicators that were used more than 40 years ago. Science has advanced but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not kept up. Unfortunately, these advanced monitoring methods are still expensive and not widely available to health departments and other regulatory agencies….

Related: Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

read … DoH Column

PUC Questions HECO Plans for Rail and Ho’opili

IM: … HECO filed an application with the Commission in 2018 requesting to build the Ka‘aahi Substation for approximately $8.8 million.

The proposed Waiphu Substation would serve the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Maintenance and Storage Facility and forecasted load growth in the Leeward Community College, Pearl Highlands and Waipahu areas.

“The Company requests that the Commission issue a decision in this proceeding by May 1, 2019 to accommodate HART’s construction schedule and expected load.“

“HART is required to own, operate and maintain the primary distribution system on the customer side of the substation meter once the dedicated Ka‘aahi Substation is placed in service. Hawaiian Electric proposes to sell HART existing Hawaiian Electric 12kV lines and ancillary; facilities that were installed in 2016 to provide electrical service for HART’s needs at that time.”

“After the substation is in-service, Hawaiian Electric will no longer have a need for the lines and facilities, and the transfer will enable HART to own, operate and maintain the primary distribution system on the customer side of the substation meter, as required by tariff.”

The Commission reluctantly approved the proposal on May 3, 2019.….

HECO will test a Soft Launch to "source solutions to defer the need to expand the East Kapolei distribution capacity to serve the expected load growth."

The three PUC Commissioners-- Chair James P. Griffin and Commissioners Jennifer Potter and Leo Asuncion--wrote a letter to HECO on August 5, 2019, regarding the D.R. Horton Ho‘opili project that is anticipated to have 11,750 homes, 3 million square feet of commercial space, five schools and 200 acres of farmland.

“The Companies appear to be delaying consideration of NWAs for the Ho'opili development until 2025 and currently plan to build a new substation."

"The Soft Launch is an opportunity to identify and test alternative sourcing methods for use during the IGP process; however, in this case, the Companies seem to have concluded that a traditional solution is necessary without the opportunity for market providers to offer an alternative solution."

"This approach may be inconsistent with prior Commission guidance, most recently in the final decision and order approving, with conditions, the Ka'aahi substation.”

“The Commission is concerned that, given the Companies’ present trajectory, the Companies may intend to again implement a traditional wires solution without a complete consideration of potential alternatives.”….

read … PUC Questions HECO Plans for Rail and Ho’opili

US Military Wants To Coordinate Health Care Solutions In Pacific Islands

CB: … The Indo-Pacific Command is partnering with the University of Hawaii to improve health care outcomes in the Pacific islands….

On Tuesday, more than 100 people gathered at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako to discuss the new Indo-Pacific Command’s new initiative, the first of a three-day conference intended to launch a year-long planning process. Attendees included military doctors, local physicians, academics, public health workers, U.S. government officials, USAID officials and embassy officials from Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Fresh off a visit to several U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands, Rear Adm. Louis C. Tripoli addressed the group, emphasizing that the Indo-Pacific Command does not want to to re-invent the wheel but rather learn about existing programs, leverage current funding and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ongoing regional health care efforts….

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the U.S. has started renegotiating an international agreement with the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia that gives the U.S. military control over vast swaths of the western Pacific.

In May, President Donald Trump met with the presidents of those nations, a historic meeting that followed Chinese overtures in the region. The South China Morning Post reported last year that the Pacific islands are the new “diplomatic battleground” between China and the U.S…

HPR: Pacific News Minute: U.S. Secretaries of State, Defense On Pacific Tours

read … US Military Wants To Coordinate Health Care Solutions In Pacific Islands

Panel: More money, more problems with wage hikes

MN: … Living wage, minimum wage and cost of living were discussed at the Maui Chamber of Commerce 2019 annual Board Installation Luncheon. La Croix, along with panelists Eugene Tian, state economist with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and Keli’i Akina, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii president and chief executive officer, spoke to about 100 local business leaders at Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea.

Instead of looking at minimum wage, Akina said, the real solutions lie in how to reduce the high cost of living faced by Hawaii residents and in studying multiple pathways to higher wages.

“It’s not a question of whether minimum wage is good or bad,” he said. “It’s a recognition that whatever you do about minimum wage is not the answer. We really have to come up with solutions that bring the overall cost of living down.” …. 

UHERO: UHERO's Sumner La Croix on minimum wage panel

read … More money, more problems with wage hikes

The US is seeking someone to mediate a war between seals and humans

Q: … Federal authorities are struggling to broker a peace between humans and seals on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. People have murdered at least eight endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the past decade in what can seem an intractable conflict over natural resources.

If eight seals doesn’t seem like that many, there are only about 1,100 left in the world, and the population is declining fast. To solve the problem, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking a mediator to facilitate a resolution to the conflict.

“While PRD (NOAA’s Protected Resources Division) has spent years interacting with community members, and does have an understanding of the social, cultural, and economic factors that have made the monk seal a target of anger and frustration, engagement and outreach efforts have met with varying degrees of success and have not stopped the killings,” a capabilities request issued late last month by the agency says….

HTH: Hawaiian monk seal released after second rescue

read … The US is seeking someone to mediate a war between seals and humans

Arson at Hawaii Paroling Authority Office

MN: … Police are investigating a fire Tuesday morning that caused about $20,000 in damage to the Hawaii Paroling Authority building at 1797 Wili Pa Loop in Wailuku as a burglary and arson.

The fire was reported at 4:42 a.m. Preliminary investigation shows someone entered the building and caused a fire, police said.

The suspect, who is described as 6 feet tall, was wearing all black and last seen running toward Wailuku River, police said….

read … Arson suspected in Wailuku-area fire

Gun Toting Pimp Robs Four Tourists in Manoa

HNN: … Two males then got out of the Mercedes. One of them had a handgun.

Police said they stole the visitors’ belongings and took off.

Officers later tracked down one of the suspects — identified as 35-year-old Quadralis Jerod Watson — on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. They arrested him on suspicion of first-degree robbery.

Watson has a lengthy rap sheet, including a federal sentence for child sex-trafficking. But federal court records show that he was released in late May.

According to state court records, Watson had also been found guilty of assault, terroristic threatening, drug charges and various other crimes….

read … Pimp Back in Custody

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