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Friday, January 17, 2020
January 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:42 PM :: 3053 Views

Ed Case: Why Was VFR Helicopter Pilot Flying in Fog?

Hawaii Cost of Smoking $2.2M per Smoker

Hawaii 2nd-Most Integrated State

Reforming Inefficiencies Begins With Government Employees

CB: … Last month, Adam Keawe Manalo-Camp’s Community Voices “How to Reform Our Inefficient Bureaucracies” (Dec. 19) boldly brought to our attention the various types of inefficiencies present in government departments….

administrators today are swamped with attending mandatory meetings that consume their entire workday on a daily basis….

As a former City and County of Honolulu employee, I sensed apathy among many long-term employees trapped in a fixed mindset, resisting suggestions intended to make things better….

Once a majority of employees are on board with revamping workplace culture such as tearing down silos, they do not have to look far for inspiration. Through a yearlong effort, a small team from each City and County of Honolulu department took care of fundraising and assembling their tree for the annual Honolulu City Lights event.

These employees are often on the bottom rung and yet they are capable of seeing a project from start to finish….

If employees are uncomfortable with challenging the status quo, they could refer to the performance audit reports online as a starting point.

What is the purpose of putting out these reports when recommendations are consistently ignored in favor of business as usual? Departments should focus on making corrections to outdated procedures currently resulting in delay and frustration.

To promote idea sharing, there is an opportunity to meet others from different departments through participation in the Emerging Leaders and Advanced Management Programs sponsor by the city’s Department of Human Resources. The courses within the programs help promote dialogue and teamwork among employees….

In his Community Voice, Adam Keawe Manalo-Camp mentioned the amount of paperwork generated, which I personally witness from others’ perceived need for excessive ink documentation…..

It is important to address persistent problems that affect employee performance and public satisfaction on a daily basis rather than target a rare occurrence such as putting an end to gifts of aloha.….

read … Reforming Inefficiencies Begins With Government Employees

Hawaii County Council Rushing a $1.45M Insider Cash Give-Away

WHT: … A fast-tracked bill to buy land owned by a distant relative (the manong) of Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz is raising questions after her relationship was disclosed when the County Council was asked to approve a $1.45 million appropriation for the purchase and construction of a bus depot there.

(Better idea.  Get buses.)

Gilbert Aguinaldo, owner of a 1.45 acre, wedge-shaped parcel bounded by Pahoa Bypass Road and Kapoho Road, has entered a $900,000 sales contract with the county….

(There is free state-owned land available, keep reading.)

Aguinaldo and family members bought the parcel, which has become known as “the Hub,” for $89,100 on Oct. 3, 2012. Soon after, the state purchased a piece of the property to construct the Pahoa-Kalapana Road…. (Ca-ching!)

The appropriation bill, Bill 131, had its first airing at the Jan. 8 County Council meeting, as it skipped the committee level because the sales contract expires at the end of January. The deal was put together by former Managing Director Wil Okabe, Property Manager Hamana Ventura and Mass Transit Administrator Brenda Carreira and presented to the council as a fait accompli.

That irked Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder, who was under the impression the site selection process was still ongoing, after a consultant hired by the administration evaluated seven potential sites for a project that wasn’t scheduled to commence until the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Kanealii-Kleinfelder asked why he, as a Puna councilman as well as vice chairman of the Public Works and Mass Transit Committee, wasn’t kept in the loop. He said he or his staff attended the community meetings on the issue and they weren’t aware a contract had already been signed. He didn’t like being told the deal had to move fast or someone else might buy the property, likening that to walking into a car dealership….

Kierkiewicz, who sponsored the bill at the request of the administration, disclosed in a letter read by Chairman Aaron Chung, that she called Aguinaldo “uncle,” as well as “manong,”…

SSFM said Site 3 is the best choice for its size and configuration, but Site 6 is best for moving forward quickly. The consultant recommended entering into a 3-5 year lease with Aguinaldo while the county evaluated the best site.

Site 3, which is near the new police and fire stations, has ample room for park-and-ride parking and is more secure, the consultants said. The property is already under county control through an executive order from the state, which owns the land….

Meanwhile: Bus system ‘meltdown’ leaves schoolchildren, working poor stranded

read … County fast-track land buy raises questions

New measure at state capitol looking to do away with HI-5 recycling

KHON: … A new measure introduced in the Hawaii State House of Representatives could put an end to HI-5 recycling.

When you buy a drink with a plastic bottle, you pay 6 cents. When you recycle it at a Hi-5 Recycling Center you get 5 cents back and a cent goes back to the program. Under the new measure, you’ll no longer have to pay the extra 6 cents, but won’t be able to get money for recycling either.

Rep. Roy Takumi, who introduced the measure, created it after hearing from older constituents about the difficulties of transporting recyclables.

“You have to bring the containers to the recycling center, and for a lot of seniors that’s a big challenge. So they just end up throwing it into the blue bin,” said Takumi….

He said, with blue recycling bins at most homes on Oahu, there’s really no need to incentivize recycling….“If you already have a way in which people can easily recycle containers, it begs the question, is it a continued need to have a redemption program?”

“I just felt 10 years after the blue bin program has been implemented, maybe its time to have a discussion,” said Takumi.

Takumi said if his bill passes, counties could still enact their own fees and recycling laws….

Recycling Fraud:

read … New measure at state capitol looking to do away with HI-5 recycling

Hawaii found to be only partially compliant with federal child abuse laws

KHON: …  Last month, a four-year investigation into the nation’s primary child abuse law — the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA) — was published in a joint effort by Boston Globe and ProPublica. The investigation found that, of CAPTA’s 27 federally-mandated provisions, not a single state is compliant with all of them. Including Hawaii.

The investigation, authored by Emily Palmer and Jessica Huseman, states that “while some states provide children with attorneys…Hawaii may pull someone with absolutely no training into the courtroom; sometimes, they haven’t even met the children before representing them.”

That’s not the only area in which Hawaii fails to adequately protect children who have been abused. When it comes to drug-affected infants, hospitals are supposed to protect babies who may have been affected by drug use during pregnancy. But Hawaii is only “minimally compliant” in this regard according to the study:

“Hawaii does not consider prenatal substance use to be abuse or neglect on its own. The state creates plans for infants affected by both illegal and legal drugs, but Hawaii was found partially compliant because health providers are not required to notify CPS of infants affected by prescription drugs and they therefore would not receive plans of safe care as mandated under CAPTA. The state’s monitoring system also spreads the responsibility among some 100 private agencies in what appears a shirking of its duty, inhibiting its ability to report even a fraction of the total plans created in the state, per federal mandate. The agency did not provide federally mandated data regarding the creation of plans of safe care.” ….

ProPublica: The Price of America’s Inability to Track Child Deaths from Abuse and Neglect? Sometimes, More Lives.

read … Hawaii found to be only partially compliant with federal child abuse laws

Pro-life advocates rally at state Capitol to ‘honor the lives lost to abortion

SA: … The March for Life event attracted about 650 people from religious groups, elementary schools and nonprofit organizations. The gathering came less than a week before the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion. This year’s theme was “Ohana begins with conception.”

The event was co-sponsored by Hawaii Life Alliance and Diocesan Respect Life….

read … Pro-life advocates rally at state Capitol to ‘honor the lives lost to abortion

Will DOE Slash Weighted Student Formula to Pay $10M to HSTA?

CB: … “The more disturbing point to me is, you have this $10 million chunk in the budget, why didn’t this happen sooner? Why wasn’t this done five, 10 years ago?” asked Rep. Scot Matayoshi at the House Finance briefing Tuesday, about the decision to implement the pay raises.

The shaky start to that dialogue clearly put board members on edge. They urged DOE officials to be crystal clear to the Legislature about which education services could be on the chopping block to pay for the raises….

The estimated cost to fund the teacher pay incentives incentives is around $10.5 million for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and roughly $26 million for the next fiscal year. The differentials include an annual $10,000 boost to certified special ed teachers and a yearly boost ranging from $3,000 to $8,000 for instructors teaching in remote, hard-to-staff areas….

In the event the Legislature does not grant Gov. David Ige’s supplemental budget request for these funds, the DOE is on the hook to take the money from its current $2 billion operating budget to keep the teacher incentives going in the future.

The DOE outlined a broad contingency plan in a memo.

Several bullet points suggest it would eventually have to cut services to programs that have a direct impact on learning, like weighted student formula adjustments, bus transportation and IT services….

On Thursday, House Speaker Scott Saiki sent a letter to BOE finance committee chairman Ken Uemura requesting the board “refrain from taking action” on the DOE’s contingency plan to fund these differentials until the department can provide more specifics, according to a copy of the letter seen by Civil Beat.

“The Department has only identified in very general terms where the proposed savings will come from,” Saiki said….

HNN: Veteran public school teachers could get a big one-time salary increase

read … DOE Faces More Tough Questions Over How It Will Pay For Teacher Raises

Board of Education shelves plans to move Kaahumanu Elementary School to Make Way for Condos

HNN: … The state Board of Education Thursday rejected a proposal to move the school from Kinau Stret to new facilities that would be built on the 46-acre campus of nearby McKinley High School.

The current four-acre elementary school campus would then have been available for commercial purposes, such as teacher housing.

The proposal to move the school was part of the Department of Education’s plans to redevelop underused properties to generate revenue and create 21st century schools.

Many families came out against the idea, and were opposed to having young children sharing a campus with teenagers.

“It’s an important piece of the community for those 500 students, and more importantly the families, that go there,” said BOE member Bruce Voss.

“Including Kaahumanu as one of the possible sites would just create a distraction, and the board has no intention at this time of closing any schools," Voss added. "We want to focus on the purpose of the act, which is to take underutilized land, and turn them into 21st century schools.”

The board did approve looking at rebuilding Kaimuki High School.…

read … Board of Education shelves plans  to move Kaahumanu Elementary School to the McKinley High campus

Fake: City sues disgraced ex-police chief in Pretend bid to recoup $250,000 payout

HNN: … All but one of the Honolulu’s police commissioners voted in favor of the agreement, fearing Kealoha would file a wrongful termination lawsuit if he was forced out without the deal.  (The one who voted ‘NO’ has now been ousted as Chair.)

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses Kealoha of breach of contract, saying he’s not holding up his end of the agreement to repay the money if he’s convicted or pleads guilty to a felony crime.

Both happened. In June, a jury convicted him of conspiracy and obstruction. Then in October, he pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

The lawsuit says the city sent a letter to Kealoha but he "has not responded nor has he returned the severance payment of $250,000, which is a breach of the agreement.”…

CB:  Under state law, the city cannot seize his pension payments

read … City sues disgraced ex-police chief in bid to recoup $250,000 payout

New Prison Oversight Commission Trying to Release as Many Criminals as Possible

CB: … Members of the new prisons oversight commission say they want to prioritize ways to ease jail and prison overcrowding, reentry programs, parole, transparency in the board’s proceedings, restorative justice and policies that lead to too many people being put behind bars — among other things.

(Translation: Let lots and lots of criminals back out onto the streets.)

In its inaugural meeting Thursday, five commissioners were sworn in and shared their initial vision (of a crime wave which will make you forget the current crime wave).

read … New Prison Oversight Commission Has A Full Plate

More sex assault allegations against former Kamehameha Schools psychiatrist and ACLU Board Member

KHON: … A new lawsuit filed by attorney Randall Rosenberg has new allegations against Browne, who committed suicide in 1985. Among the alleged victims, Sabrina Cowan, who was 12 years old when she saw Dr. Browne in his office in 1971.

“He was sitting next to me on the couch and then all of a sudden he put his arm around me. I thought he was trying to comfort me,” said Cowan.

But instead, she says Browne grabbed her. She fought him off and screamed, and then threatened to report him.

“I was screaming at him to get away from me and he starts laughing at me. And he goes, and you think they’re gonna believe you over me? And he points to all his degrees up on the wall and stuff like that,” said Cowan.

She says she didn’t tell anyone until several years later. She reported it to one of the school counselors and she said nothing happened….

read … More sex assault allegations against former Kamehameha Schools psychiatrist

Two Weeks of Steady Rain—74 Homeless Decide to Accept Shelter

SA: … In its first 19 days, 74 homeless people sought shelter in the HONU — and 66 of them have been placed “into more permanent shelters or housing,” Caldwell said….

The 120 Oahu deaths in 2018 was an increase from the 90 deaths that were originally reported; and the 87 deaths in 2017 were up from the original report of 70, the city said. The revised numbers were the result of a more thorough case review, the city said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell cited two recent programs intended to help homeless people get off the street and get help from social service organizations: the one-year anniversary of the Punawai Rest Stop in Kalihi, which served more than 2,000 homeless people in its first year; and the recent launch of the HONU (Homeless Outreach and Navigation to Unsheltered Persons) pilot program that began in Waipahu….

read … Deaths of homeless people continue to climb on Oahu

Kauai: Tax hike proposed for part-time TVRs

TGI: … A bill that would increase the property taxes of Kauai residents who rent out their homes for part of the year was met with opposition from some Kauai community members on Thursday.

Councilmember Mason Chock, who co-authored the measure, said Bill 2767 seeks to remove transient vacation rentals (TVRs) and hotels from the commercial home use tax category, which was introduced in 2014 “with the intention of finding some middle ground for those homeowners who use their property for commercial use.”

“There is some discrepancy that we’re finding in terms of the use and how TVRs are being placed into this category and benefiting from this tax rate,” Chock said. “We felt it necessary to take a look at this again.”

The bill’s other author, Councilmember Luke Evslin, described the bill as “one of the hardest” he has worked on during the past year because of the number of people who stand to take a financial hit if it passes.

“Any time we’re changing the taxes for 218 people, we have to be careful,” he said. According to Evslin, the purpose of the bill is to ensure that all houses being used in any way as short-term rental properties are taxed in a fair way.

But a number of long-time Kauai residents who testified Thursday afternoon at a public hearing on the measure maintain that the proposal will have unintended consequences and unfairly tax many people who simply can’t afford it….

read … Tax hike proposed for part-time TVRs

Is This Any Way To Run An Airport?

CB: … I imagined what the experience of the airport must be for an international visitor, arriving in Hawaii for the first time.

It starts with fresh, humid air on the jetway. Then, a long walk to the shuttle.

The shuttle waiting area is all chipped paint and aging concrete. The shuttles look like they were commissioned a few decades ago. Their white paint is dirty with soot. And they move slowly in their quarter-mile loop from pickup to customs and back.

Last week, I waited 20 minutes for a shuttle. The attendants loaded shuttles through the front door only. Two shuttles were standing by, but the attendants insisted on loading the first shuttle to capacity before starting to load the others.

Imagine arriving in Hawaii, enjoying the fresh air for a few seconds, and then being crowded into an aging shuttle to ride all of 1 minute to your destination. That’s the experience….

read … Is This Any Way To Run An Airport?

Technology helps provide accurate measure of sea level

SA: … As it turns out, defining and measuring sea level is unexpectedly difficult. There are influences from the moon and sun, the lumpiness of Earth and the law of gravity itself….

The problem with the tides is that the solar and lunar tides are out of alignment and phase. The sun sometimes increases, sometimes decreases the net tide. Solar and lunar cycles are in phase only every 19 years, so accurate prediction requires measurements at least this long.

It then takes multiple decades and cycles to sort out the tides from other effects and find a reliable average.

This is only the simple stuff…

Trying to determine past sea levels and track changes is even more complex…

For example, the land can move up or down. During the Ice Age the added weight of 10,000 feet or more of ice caused Earth’s crust to sink into the mantle. Now with the ice melted, the land is rebounding up to 1 centimeter per year around northern latitude land masses….

Some spots are 300 feet higher or lower than would be the case if Earth were a uniform sphere….

Sea level exists as a concept for us. No measurement can define a “global” sea level. Such a thing does not exist. In reality it can only be what we define it to be at a given time….

read … Technology helps provide accurate measure of sea level

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