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Thursday, July 15, 2021
July 15, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:23 PM :: 2039 Views

VIDEO: How Jones Act complicates life in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam

How an 1886 maritime law is holding back U.S. tourism

2021 Legislature: DLNR Scores Fees and Positions

HSTA Continues to Push So-Called 'Distance Learning' for fall term

Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano confirms she’s considering a run for governor

HNN: … If she runs, she’s poised to face off against established politicians like Lt. Gov. Josh Green and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell ― both of whom have not formally announced runs yet, either.

In an interview with HNN, Cayetano said she’s “seriously thinking” about running for governor.

Cayetano helped Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi during his campaign, and now the commercial laundry services president is considering a run for the seat her husband once filled….

“I’ve seen my husband’s public service. I’ve been privileged to be former first lady and as a businesswoman who started her business 34 years ago. I see a lot of things that we can do and I hope to bring that lifetime career of finding solutions and working with people,” said Cayetano.

On his Facebook page Wednesday morning, former Gov. Ben Cayetano wrote:

“There will be a Cayetano running for governor ― but it’s not me. Formal announcement to be made soon.”

Vicky Cayetano told HNN that former announcement will likely be in one month….

“She was a very liked first lady and she also has strong connections with the business community, which means she’ll be able to raise a lot of money for a campaign.”

Before Blangiardi’s win for mayor, he had considered running for governor….

“Given Vicky Cayetano’s close relationship with Blangiardi, if she is exploring a run, it’s almost certainly the case that he’s not interested in running,” said Moore….

It could be a crowded field as people are also hearing rumors about former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, US Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele, and Councilwoman Andria Tupola entering the race….

SA: Former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano weighs bid for governor

CB: Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano, 65, Is Mulling A Run For Governor

read … Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano confirms she’s considering a run for governor

Vicki Cayetano, Rick Blangiardi: Ex-Republicans in Politics

Borreca: … Essentially, the primary election playground is reserved for dedicated Hawaii Democrats. Vicky Cayetano is a Republican who switched parties with her marriage to Ben Cayetano and has a strong reputation writing a success story in the local commercial laundry business.

In a Democratic primary, it might be better to be leading strikes instead of thriving businesses.

Moore correctly calculates that “Green will have a relatively easy time painting her as a conservative business owner who lacks the public-sector experience to enter the Governor’s Office during a time of crisis.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi had similar problems, but his race was a nonpartisan one with just the two most popular getting to the general election. Hawaii’s Democratic primary makes it almost impossible for anyone but a lifetime party member to win a primary.

Cayetano has to nail down “I’m a Democrat,” before she can answer the question of whether she is the most popular Democrat ….

read … Vicky Cayetano’s trial balloon in governor’s race would face prickly Democratic primary

Hawaii Road Usage Charge Program May by Copied for Federal System

TTN: … Road usage charge initiatives at the state level can offer models for a federal program, which should be formulated sooner rather than later, according to experts gathered at a transportation funding event.

Several states, including Oregon, Hawaii, Utah and California, have pursued road usage charge programs. The purpose is to ensure drivers pay for the miles of road that they use, rather than the gallons of fuel.

The federal fuel tax, which supports the Highway Trust Fund, has held at 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel and 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline since 1993. Because vehicles are becoming more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles are growing more prevalent, the federal fuel tax does not have the power it did decades ago….

HDOT is leading the Hawaii Road Usage Charge Demonstration (HiRUC), which began in 2018 with financial support from the Federal Highway Administration….

(Concept: Slip this system by the public in Hawaii.  Then sell it to the federal DoT as a replacement for fuel taxes.  Result: Nationwide surveillance system for cars--and a tax hike.)

read … States’ Road Usage Charge Programs May Offer Model for Federal System, Experts Say

The Legislature Just Reduced Transparency In Hawaii Elections

CB: … By overriding Ige's veto of SB404, our legislators have thrown open the door to dark money in politics….

SB 404, when it moved through the 2021 Legislature, received relatively little attention; it was a housekeeping administrative measure. The Legislature took the opportunity, on its own against the testimony of good government groups and watchdog agencies, to amend SB 404 to eliminate disclosures that must be made by candidates and reduce disclosures that must be made by special interest groups, or PACs and SuperPACs.

The result of the Legislature’s veto override of SB 404 is that the public will not know who is trying to influence their vote — which candidate or special interest group is telling them to vote for or against a candidate in the critical period right before an election….

read … The Legislature Just Reduced Transparency In Hawaii Elections

Other States Have Tough Police Standards Boards. Hawaii’s Is Still Struggling

CB: … The Honolulu Police Department tried to fire Ofc. Brent Sylvester in 2016 after he allegedly drove drunk, rear ended a vehicle causing injury to its occupants, fled the scene, and then refused to submit to a blood test.

An Oahu District Court dismissed a criminal case against Sylvester after the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office failed to produce the complaining witnesses.

In 2019, Ofc. Christopher Finley of Caldwell, Idaho, found himself in a similar situation when he got drunk one day and hit a parked car with his police vehicle. He ultimately pleaded guilty to striking an unattended vehicle, a misdemeanor.

Idaho has significantly more power to discipline officers and can revoke officer certifications for numerous instances, including breaches of the state’s officer code of ethics, being convicted of a crime, or being accused of any criminal conduct.

The facts in this particular case were enough for the state of Idaho to permanently strip Finley of his police powers, ensuring he can never hold a badge again.

But things worked out differently for Sylvester in Honolulu.

His punishment was reduced from termination to a one-year suspension via a union arbitration process in 2018, and by 2019 he was back on the force.

In April, he fired the three fatal shots that killed Lindani Myeni outside a Nuuanu mansion….

read … Other States Have Tough Police Standards Boards. Hawaii’s Is Still Struggling

Following critical audit, lawmakers to begin investigation of agribusiness agency

HNN: … Members hope to follow up on the auditor’s report by requesting documents and even subpoenaing witnesses.

An audit found the Agribusiness Development Corporation has done little to diversify Hawaii’s agriculture industry. This led the state to form a rare investigative committee….

(Clue: This is just an activist attack on the seed industry.)


read …  Following critical audit, lawmakers to begin investigation of agribusiness agency

Auditor Dispute: Saiki Needs To Start Acting Like Grown-Up

CB: … (Just skip to the comments) The office auditor is supposed to hold people's feet to the fire. The job is supposed to ruffle feathers. It's a feature, not a bug. As Mr. Milner describes it, the working group set up by Speaker Saiki does indeed come off as a hit job against the auditor.

“All parties need to act like politically responsible grown-ups.”

 Mr. Milner has fallen into the trap of "bothsiderism" with this whole ordeal. The speaker's sin of forming this working group, "which Civil Beat characterized as an audit of the auditor", is not equal to Mr. Kondo's sin of his undiplomatic, but accurate, description of said working group as "garbage" and "sneaky".

read … All Sides In Auditor Dispute Need To Start Acting Like Grown-Ups

Judge orders Public Safety officials to improve COVID safety in Hawaii’s jails and prisons

SA: … A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety to adhere to its plan for protecting inmates from COVID-19, stressing the severity of the health threat in Hawaii’s jails and prisons where about half of the inmate population has now been infected by the virus since the start of the pandemic, as well as 273 staff. But U.S. District Judge Jill Otake stopped short of appointing a special master to take over COVID safety protocols in the correctional system, as attorneys for inmates had requested.

Otake, in her 69-page order issued Tuesday, said that she found accounts from correctional staff and inmates detailing major deficiencies in safety protocols to be credible.

“If the conditions described in the declarations submitted by plaintiffs continue, the risk of harm to all inmates is undeniable,” wrote Otake….

Otake left open the possibility of appointing a special master in the future. She also ruled that the case can move forward as a class-action lawsuit….

read … Judge orders Public Safety officials to improve COVID safety in Hawaii’s jails and prisons

HGEA News: Couples applying for a marriage license in Hawaii face frustration, confusion

KHON: … Couples are supposed to call ahead for an appointment, as the sign says no walk-ins. But every time they try to call, nobody answers. With their wedding scheduled on Saturday, July 17, a couple decided to come down in person and hope for the best.

“We were panicking, ringing. I think we rang them around six times this morning and nothing,” said Ella Putner, a marriage license applicant.

There are days when even those who were actually able to get an appointment still wound up waiting in line for hours. Newlyweds Rick Cao and Glenda Disselkoen arrived early for their appointment during the week of Monday, July 7.

“Fifteen minutes turned into 30, 30 turned into 60 and so on and so forth. And I don’t think we saw anyone until we were there for about two and a half hours,” said Cao.

They sensed the frustration from everyone else in line….

Marinell and Kyle de Boy also had their appointment during the week of July 7 and found ten couples waiting ahead of them…

A spokeswoman says there are two people and an assistant working in the office, but couples told KHON2 they have only seen one person working in there.

The spokeswoman said in a statement, “DOH is in the process of cross-training other staff to work as surge capacity for the unpredictable higher volume days.”

She added, “DOH is also working with the wedding industry on a pilot project to extend license issuance authority to private wedding businesses.”

There is a list of other places that issue marriage licenses here….

SA: Kokua Line: Why is it taking so long to transfer a vehicle title in Honolulu?

read … Couples applying for a marriage license in Hawaii face frustration, confusion

Despite campus solar installations, UH says reaching clean energy goal will be difficult

HNN: … Despite an ambitious program to build solar arrays on campus buildings, the University of Hawaii said reaching its goal of net zero energy by 2035 will be a challenge.

UH officials told lawmakers in a hearing Tuesday that although there have been multiple large solar installations on its Manoa campus, they said many of its older facilities and buildings are still dependent on electricity from the power grid.

During the pandemic, when much of the campus was shut down, UH said it still burned 90% of the electricity it usually would have in pre-COVID times….

read … Despite campus solar installations, UH says reaching clean energy goal will be difficult

Navy request for 5-year permit to operate underground Red Hill fuel tanks before DoH

SA: … The Navy is currently required to do significant upgrades to its World War II-­era tanks under an order imposed by federal and state regulators after 27,000 gallons of fuel leaked from one of the tanks in 2014. Tanks that have not been upgraded by 2037 are required to be taken out of service…

It’s now up to a hearings officer to weigh the positions of the various parties in the case and issue a recommended order. The director of the Department of Health then makes a final decision on the Navy’s permit request, though there is no statutory deadline for doing so.

Typically, directors follow the direction of their own agencies. The Environmental Health Administration said that if a permit is issued for the Red Hill facility it would need to include conditions that would protect against tank erosion, mitigate the uncertainty of the Navy’s own groundwater modeling and address its lack of treatment and recovery systems for spills….

read … Navy request for 5-year permit to operate underground Red Hill fuel tanks raises red flags

Maui trying to enact plastic utensils, containers ban

MN: … The Maui County Council is considering a measure that would ban the use and sale of the products.

The ban also mandates takeout containers, utensils and straws must also be non-plastic and approved upon request only.

While the purpose of the ban is to better the environment, some are asking for an extension like on Oahu.

“Since the pandemic hit and we have opened up, we have been experiencing a lot of shipping delays, shipping shortages,” said Todd Kawasaki with Maui Chemical & Paper Products, “if we are looking five months away, there’s gonna’ be a lot of inability to bring in product.

The ban would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022 if approved. Styrofoam food containers are already banned on Maui…..

read … Maui trying to enact plastic utensils, containers ban

Legislative News:
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