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Monday, December 2, 2019
December 2, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:02 PM :: 2421 Views

GAO: Ala Wai Flood Risk Estimates--More Transparency Required

GAO Report: Navy Plan to Upgrade Pearl Harbor Shipyard Falls Short

UH Manoa 4-Year Graduation Rate Hits 36%

Rail: 100 Days to Destiny

SA: … The next 100 days likely will determine whether the 20-mile Honolulu rail line will be finished by the city’s latest target date of December 2025, and there are signs there could be trouble ahead.

The half-built, $9.2 billion rail line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center is the largest public works project in state history, and the city is preparing to award what would be the largest rail contract yet.

New deadlines are approaching for pivotal decisions on a proposed public-private partnership, or P3 agreement, a critically important contract that would be unlike anything the city has attempted before. The task is complex, and if the rail line is to open without any more delays, there is little time to spare….

read … Rail project copes with new delays at a critical time

HGEA, HSTA Fighting over new DoE SPED Plan

CB: … A new policy for funding special education in Hawaii is touching off some fears it could mean dramatic cuts for some schools and the ability to provide services to disabled students.

The new formula is the result of recommendations by a task force aimed at making funding of special ed services more equitable throughout the state.

Some schools are expected to gain more resources under the plan, but others say it could cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The state’s largest public employees union, which represents principals and educational assistants, is raising the alarm and advising the state Department of Education to slow down implementation of the policy, which is set to take effect in August.

“The plan is complicated, and it should have been shared and consulted on earlier if the DOE is seeking implementation next school year,” a recent Hawaii Government Employees Association e-bulletin to members says.

Minutes from an Oct. 11 meeting at the Special Education Advisory Council, moreover, referenced a general “anxiety” among those gathered that some schools would gain and some will lose in this “effort to level the playing field and provide consistency across complexes,” according to a summary of the minutes…. 

According to a spreadsheet detailing the changes, some schools may see their special ed funding swell by as much as several hundred thousand dollars while others could see the funding diminish by that much — or more....

read … Its all about the Keiki, really, yeah.

Child abuse registry case to go before high court

SA: … A Tennessee woman has asked the nation’s highest court to intervene in a case that highlights what one federal judge called “a glaring hole” in Hawaii’s regulations for its child abuse registry.

Courtney Bird, who was placed on the registry in 2007 without her knowledge, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that she failed to file a lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services within the two-year statute of limitations. DHS oversees the registry.

While noting the lack of the timely filing, Judge Jay Bybee, one of three 9th Circuit judges who issued the August ruling, wrote in an accompanying opinion that he was astounded by the state’s defense of its flawed procedures relating to the registry.

“I don’t understand how the state of Hawaii can maintain such arguments with a straight face,” Bybee wrote. “Ms. Bird was plainly denied due process.”

In their request to the Supreme Court, Bird’s attorneys highlighted the impact of the 9th Circuit ruling, saying it “condemns countless innocent persons to a lifetime of being falsely labelled as child abusers by the state of Hawaii.” ….

read …  Child abuse registry case to go before high court

Controversial Bill 40, banning single-use plastics, up for final vote Wednesday

KITV: … A landmark disposable plastic ban bill, known as Bill 40, is scheduled to go before the City Council on Wednesday for a final vote.

The bill has undergone several revisions, with environmental groups and local food manufacturers and restaurants at odds over how extensive the ban will be and its impact on small businesses.

The latest version addresses the local food industry's concerns, adding exemptions for more items such as:

  • Prepackaged items like musubi, bentos and tofu
  • Packaging for raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs
  • Grab-and-go items such as crackers, cookies, chips, popcorn and bread….

SA: Single-use plastics ban likely to pass

SA: Commonly asked questions answered regarding bill banning plastic

read … Controversial Bill 40, banning single-use plastics, up for final vote Wednesday

More Mindless Anti-Plastic Hysteria

CB: …But the full ecological impacts of all this plastic hasn’t been determined. Global research on microplastics is in the early stages, and scientists are just beginning the long process of studying and verifying health impacts.

“There are so many questions that haven’t been answered,” Lynch said….

(But don’t let your ignorance get in the way of hysteria.)

read … Mindless Hysteria

City Climate Change Commission Mulls Changes to Shoreline Setback Ordinance

EH: … Hawai‘i magazine last month reported on one 40-year Sunset Beach resident who has accepted that he may have to abandon his home as the shoreline erodes ever closer.

It’s unlikely seawalls or other type of hardening will be (allowed)….

EH: BOARD TALK: Owners of Sunset Beach Home Contest Proposed Fine, Sand Burrito Removal

read … City Climate Change Commission Mulls Changes to Shoreline Setback Ordinance

Caldwell’s astrological sign is “For Sale.”

Shapiro: …And a double quote of the month … on Pa‘ani Kakou, a luxury developer-backed group behind a controversial “world-class” playground proposed for Ala Moana Park:

From Mayor Kirk Caldwell: “The idea the city is allowing rich people to take over park land to build a luxury playground is ludicrous. … Pa‘ani Kakou should be thanked, not vilified.”

From blogger Ian Lind: “By my count, the campaign contributions to Mayor Caldwell linked to the directors of the nonprofit Pa‘ani Kakou came to a total of $123,900.”

Caldwell’s astrological sign is “For Sale.” …

read … How many dead fish does it take to spell ‘incompetence’?

‘Please Hold’: Disabled Handi-Van Users Face Long Waits To Book Rides

CB: … Handi-Van passengers and management are growing increasingly frustrated with the paratransit service’s city-controlled reservation line and the obstacles it poses to booking a ride.

Typically, those seeking a ride wait between 20 to 45 minutes just to reach an operator, said Charlotte Townsend, paratransit vice president for Oahu Transit Services, which runs Handi-Van for the city….

One longtime Oahu paratransit advocate has already filed a complaint with the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Civil Rights, hoping it will intervene and force the city to fix the situation.

However, the Handi-Van’s phone reservation problems started long before the Department of Information Technology moved those phone lines over to the city’s Cisco Systems-run phone network, city officials say….

It’s one of the nation’s busiest and most heavily used paratransit systems per capita. The service provides more than 4,000 rides to disabled passengers each day on average, and its $2 fare hasn’t been increased in 18 years.

The city has struggled for years to improve the fleet’s on-time performance so that vans arrive no earlier than 10 minutes of the scheduled pickup time and no later than 30 minutes. Handi-Van only hit its monthly on-time performance goal of at least 90% once this year — back in January, Townsend reported at the November meeting.

Replacing older vans with new ones has often proven difficult, leading to strains on their maintenance. In three separate incidents this past decade, vans have caught fire while on the road. Two passengers were aboard in one of those instances. The driver who got them out safely was lauded as a hero.

The system has also had issues complying with ADA regulations. A 2016 city audit found that Handi-Van was in violation by accepting too many so-called “subscription” rides for local service agencies, leaving too few rides available for individual riders….

read … ‘Please Hold’: Disabled Handi-Van Users Face Long Waits To Book Rides

Seeking answers about abrupt lease cancellation of Barbers Point aviation museum

ILind: … After rescuing aircraft that had been left behind at the Barbers Point Airfield (now officially the Kalaeloa Airport) when the Navy moved out, this group of history buffs slowly built their aviation museum over two decades.They had been working with the state to relocate the museum from its current location, but then the state went silent for about seven years. Then, in mid-September, the DOT abruptly sent a letter cancelling the museum’s current month-to-month lease and order them to vacate the property. See “Naval Air Museum Is Being Evicted over Contract Issues,”….

read … Seeking answers about abrupt lease cancellation of Barbers Point aviation museum



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