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Monday, April 22, 2013
April 22, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:09 PM :: 3907 Views

Confident, Rail Opponents Seek Expedited Hearing on Appeal

Contracts: UPW 17% Raise, HSTA 15%, HGEA 8%

Abercrombie Orders ‘Flexible Pay’ Hikes to Match Outside Job Offers

Petition Seeks Defeat of Three PLDC-Clone Bills

Oahu Biofuel Plant: Honeywell CEO to Face Questions

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted April 22, 2013

Petition Seeks Defeat of Three PLDC-Clone Bills

Juvenile justice: Youth on the brink

SA: Nearly 5,000 young people get in trouble with the law and land in Oahu's Family Court each year....

A common thread in their cases is a troubled home environment. Eighty percent of youthful offenders abuse alcohol or drugs, and many have mental health issues, Brow­ning said. Often they resort to substance abuse to cover up trauma at home.

"A lot of times, these kids have never had anybody tell them their life is worth anything," Brow­ning said. "The youngest addict I ever dealt with was a 10-year-old. I can't tell you how many kids end up cutting themselves just to mask the pain."....

More than 18,000 cases were filed in Family Court of the 1st Circuit the last fiscal year, according to the Judiciary's annual report. About 4,900 cases involved juveniles: 2,292 for law violations and 2,596 for what are called "status offenses" — infractions that would not be crimes for adults, such as running away from home or violating curfew.

Violent crime is rare among Hawaii youth. The bulk of arrests of those under age 18 are for infractions such as running away, truancy, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Of the 9,299 juvenile arrests statewide in 2011, just two youths were accused of murder or manslaughter, according to data kept by the Department of the Attorney General. Another 235 arrests — 2.5 percent of the total — were for the other violent "index crimes" of forcible rape, robbery or aggravated assault. That's 46 percent lower than the comparable national percentage, according to the FBI's database.

read ... Common denominator is trouble at home

Bill would defog requirements for compelling psychiatric help

SA: Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii, said the measure is designed to help those who are "unable to take care of themselves," adding, "Someone who is psychotic and who may have hallucinations that command them to do things, these are people who don't understand they're sick."

Under Senate Bill 310 any "interested party" — from a relative to a case manager — would be able to file a petition with Family Court alleging a person meets the criteria for treatment.

It also is clearer about who would be targeted. The court must find that the person meets all of these conditions:

  • » Has a mental illness.
  • » Likely has an inability to "live safely in the community."
  • » Has a history of inpatient mental health treatment or of presenting a danger to themselves or others.
  • » Has a history of "lack of adherence" to beneficial treatment.

The bill, destined for a House-Senate conference committee as early as this week, also no longer refers to "involuntary outpatient treatment," using instead the phrase "assisted community treatment."

Hawaii's involuntary outpatient law has been used just once in the last 13 years, a fact advocates blame on a lack of clarity about how to push people to comply with treatment orders.

The new measure would allow law enforcement or other authorized parties to transport those who fail to comply with treatment orders to a mental health program in hopes of getting them to comply.

If the person continues to refuse treatment — and if he does not pose a harm to himself or others —he will be released.

Related: Connecticut Shooting: Failure of Mental Health System

read ... A Real Homelessness Solution

Judge OKs $5.75M settlement in Homosexual Rape Gang Case at Blind-Deaf School

SA: A federal judge granted final approval this morning of a $5.75 million settlement over allegations of students at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind sexually abusing other students and a cover up by state education officials....

The state is responsible for paying $5 million of the settlement.

Scott O’Neal, a former counselor at the school, is responsible for paying $750,000.... (Will criminal charges now be filed?)

Students who were sexually abused at the school or on school buses by other students or school staff since Aug. 10, 2001 are to receive payments of $20,000, $75,000 and $200,000 based on how their experiences affected them....

read ... Homosexual Rape Gang

Sovereignty Activists' Lawyer Disbarred for Stealing from Elderly Clients

MN: "The public is cautioned and advised that Mr. Songstad cannot practice law until reinstated by order of the Hawaii Supreme Court," the news release said. "Mr. Songstad cannot accept any new retainers, clients or legal matters."

According to the Supreme Court order, aggravating factors leading to the decision to disbar Songstad included "a pattern of misconduct over time, vulnerable clients, a selfish motive, multiple violations in the present matter, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary process by intentionally failing to comply with orders of the disciplinary agency, a refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of the conduct in the record, substantial experience in the practice of law and an indifference to making restitution."

"We find no mitigating factors," the order said.

LINK: Represented Sovereignty Activists

read ... Attorney Songstad has been disbarred

AG: Early childhood learning program won’t spur school vouchers

KITV: Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to funnel millions of dollars to private preschools as part of his early childhood learning initiative, which aims to better prepare kids for kindergarten.

In February, the state Attorney General's Office wrote a letter to the governor, informing Abercrombie that an amendment to Hawaii's Constitution was needed before public funds could go to support private businesses.

Lawmakers quickly drafted a bill calling for the constitutional amendment, Senate Bill 1084, which was approved by House and Senate conferees on Thursday.

"If you read the constitutional amendment bill that we have, it is very narrowly worded to only apply to early education," Rep. Roy Takumi, who chairs the Education Committee, told KITV4.

In a follow-up letter dated April 12, the AG's office issued another opinion to the governor, stating that Abercrombie's early learning bill (SB 1095) would not create precedence for a K through 12 voucher program.  The letter was authored by Deputy Attorney General Gary Suganuma, and approved by state Attorney General David Louie.

"S.B. No. 1095 is limited to pre-kindergarten children and does not create any legal grounds for K-12 vouchers, nor does it even propose the use of vouchers for its early childhood education programs," Suganuma wrote.

read ... Vouchers?

KSBE: Use Barrel Tax to Fund Green Energy Scammers or Hilo Will Run Out of Water

SA: The Legislature responded to this situation in 2010 by passing Act 73 and assessing a barrel tax on imported oil to invest in long-term strategies to "become self-sufficient in our energy and food needs and to protect the health and function of our environment." Unfortunately, almost 60 percent of the barrel tax funds have been diverted to the state's general fund.

This Legislature can ensure the original intent of Act 73 and direct more of the barrel tax revenue to clean energy initiatives....

Our legislators can substantially advance protection for our greatest natural resource by supporting the administration's goal to double the acres of watershed forest protected in the next decade, requiring approximately $11 million per year....

On Hawaii island's east side alone, invasive plants have reduced estimated groundwater recharge by 85 million gallons a day. When one considers that a desalination plant that produces a mere 5 million gallons per day costs $40 million to construct and more than $5.4 million per year to operate, the superior economic value of protecting our forests is readily apparent.  (Yup.  They really did just suggest that Hilo --America's Rainiest City-- will run out of water and require a de-sal plant. LOL!)

read ... An absurdity 

Minimum Wage: Tip Credit Still on the Table

CB: The latest draft of SB 331 calls for a phased increase, the better to help employers adjust: to $7.25 next Jan. 1, to $8.25 a year from then, to $8.75 beginning Jan. 1, 2016; and to $9 a year after that. An earlier Senate version of the bill proposed $9.25 an hour by 2016, which would return to $8.75 in 2017 but with an adjusted wage tied to the consumer price index kicking in.

The bill also says the hourly wage of tipped employees "may be deemed" to increase, based on a formula that is still being worked out. Increasing the tip credit came in response to the request of restaurants, should the minimum wage be increased.

The only consistent "no" vote on SB 331 has come from Sen. Sam Slom, the lone Republican and a leading voice for small business interests. But seven Democratic senators voted "aye" with reservations.

In the House, Democrats Sharon Har and Jimmy Tokioka voted no, as did Republicans Bob McDermott and Richard Fale; four other GOP reps and two other Democrats, including former Speaker Calvin Say, voted with reservations.

Sen. Russell Ruderman, who voted with reservations, is one of the conferees for SB 331, as is Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson, one of the House members who voted with reservations.

read ... Tip Credit

Hee Pounded on Shield Law

HR: I understand that Sen. Clayton Hee invoked examples of inaccurate reporting by journalists in arguing for the Senate amendments. I respectfully suggest the senator is incorrect in casting the Shield Law as a matter of journalistic accuracy or inaccuracy.

Shield laws are not meant to ensure accuracy. They are meant to protect the public’s right to know what their government is doing in their name by giving journalists and their sources protection from prosecutors and plaintiffs attorneys who would rather rely on a journalist’s hard work than use their own investigative tools to support their cases.

Sen. Hee also made a point of noting that shield laws are often called “reporter’s privilege.” While it is true that legally such laws give journalists a privilege from being forced to reveal sources or turn over unpublished material, the true privilege belongs to the public, who suffer when government operates in secrecy.

read ... Hawaii Journalism Shield Law Protects the Public's Right to Know

American Courage: Lingle at PAC fundraiser in Florida

ILind: On March 28th, Dr. Larry Kawa, an orthodontist in Boca Raton, Florida, hosted an event for American Courage PAC, a conservative PAC, of which he is President. It was an upscale private complimentary dinner paid for by the PAC. In his introduction of the keynote speaker, Ann Coulter, Dr. Kawa gave a presentation that has now become widely acclaimed as being “The Speech Someone Needed To Make.” Video link to the presentation: http://vimeo.com/63622812

He demonstrated in clear terms our overspending and clarified “FAIR SHARE,” which no one else has done. He shows that the problem is wasteful spending, not that the nation is undertaxed. He shows how this path is unsustainable and uses a PowerPoint presentation along with dominoes and cards to make the obvious points no one else has made…

Also in attendance were such notables as RNC co-chair Sharon Day, former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, and some of Palm Beach and the United States’ largest Republican donors and most passionate Party supporters. In response to his overwhelmingly positive feedback, he has offered to volunteer to give the same presentation at other venues for both Republicans and Democrats interested in this topic.

read ... Lingle in Florida

City officials to meet with feds over rail project

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City Council Chairman Ernie Martin, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Dan Grabauskas and HART board Chair Carrie Okinaga are scheduled to meet Tuesday with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Authority Administrator Peter Rogoff....

The group will also meet with members of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, as well as staff and members of the U.S. Senate and House Transportation and Appropriations committees, according to a release.

Caldwell is scheduled to return Thursday. The city’s managing director, Ember Shinn, is acting mayor while he’s away.

read ... Rail Meet

State wise to follow City and sell housing projects

SA: Following the example set by the city, the state is beginning a process of extricating itself from direct ownership and management of its affordable-housing properties. It is beginning with two projects with built-in financing arrangements that protect the affordability of the rentals for the long term.

These are only the first of the nine state-owned projects to move ahead toward a sale, however. Advocates for Hawaii's insufficient affordable housing stock must watch the process carefully.

The privatization drive is a welcome one — the state stands to end a long financial drain imposed by the projects. But preservation of that stock must be a paramount concern.

The two housing complexes, Kekuilani Gardens in Kapolei and Nani o Puna in Pahoa, are among those controlled by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. (HHFDC). The state will retain ownership of the land — which is essential to maintaining some oversight of the operation — and will give the buyer a 75-year lease on the property. Various financing controls lock in for 40 years or longer.

That buyer is expected to be the Seattle-based Vitus Group, which has considerable experience rehabilitating low-income properties here. Its Hawaii developments include Banyan Street Manor, Lokahi Ka‘u, Kahuku Elderly, Whitmore Circle Apartments, Kekaha Elderly Apartments and, most notably, the revamping of Kuhio Park Terrace....

Across the country, the process of states and municipalities offloading their low-income housing units has been in progress for 30 years. Hawaii is a bit late to the game, but it's important that the state jump in with both feet. The average operating losses on these two properties alone are disheartening. Kekuilani Gardens has lost roughly $72,000 annually between 2009 and 2012, and the annual loss over that same period was $132,000 at Nani o Puna.

On other properties, the drain can be even worse. HHFDC tried previously to sell a Hawaii island rental complex on land owned by Kamehameha Schools, but the complication, paired with rising land rents, made the sale difficult. But there's this incentive to work through the problems: The annual deficit there has been $290,000.

In a state with a great deal of pressing needs, Hawaii simply can't afford to allow its housing fund to leak like a sieve. The state must divest itself of its projects, selling them to private corporations that aren't subject to the cost of procurement laws and various inefficiencies.

Then the agency can turn its attention to assembling the incentives that attract private developers of affordable rentals, which is more properly government's role in the housing industry.

read ... Privatization Works

Soft on Crime: 36 Priors, Busted for Burglary of Philippine Consulate

KHON: Just after midnight police arrested 59 year-old Kenneth McClintock in connection with these crimes.  McClintock has a lengthy criminal record  including 36 prior convictions ranging from petty misdemeanors to terroristic threatening.

read ... Philippine Consulate vandalized; flag ripped in half 

Novelist Mike Bond on “Saving Paradise” and the future of America

WT: World famous author Mike Bond has been called by the BBC “the master of the existential thriller.” Spellbinding readers with a writing style that pits hard-boiled, force of nature-like characters against politically adept, staccato-paced plots, Bond is easily one of the 21st century’s most exciting authors.

Bond’s newest book, Saving Paradise takes readers to the Hawaiian Islands for a raw and chilling expose of the hidden webs of murder, greed and corruption that political and corporate spiders weave behind the tourist façade. Inspired in part by a composite of real life, never before exposed events, Saving Paradise is a powerful editorial against the cancerous trends of crony capitalism and corrupt governance.

Read ... Mike Bond

Groups Rally to Kill Legislation that Would Weaken Hawaii's Environmental Law

HR: The city argued the archeological survey could be completed in four segments. But the justices disagreed, ruling that under current Hawaii law, all segments should be completed to determine if there are any native Hawaiian burial sites before construction began.

The ruling will put the rail project on hold for more than a year.

But some Hawaii lawmakers who support the rail and other development projects impacted by this Hawaii law want to change it.

Lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 1171, which authorized the phased review of certain projects by the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division.

Proponents say the changes would ensure state and federal laws are “consistent.”

But a group calling itself “FRIENDS OF SHPD” or the State Historic Preservation Division is opposed to the change.

The group has partnered with the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, the Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter, the Society for American Archaeology, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the O'ahu Island Burial Council, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation and Coalition of Students to rally against SB1171 and get the legislation killed.

read ... Friends of SHPD 

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