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Friday, May 31, 2013
May 31, 2013 News Read
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VIDEO: I Aloha Molokai ‘Bottom Up Planning’

Gun Permitting Among Bills on Honolulu Council Agenda

Shipping Industry under “environmental siege”

Hawaii Ranks 6th for Senior Health

Vanished Hawaii Travel Agent Ordered to Pay $4M

Governor Releases $21.8 Million for Airports, Highways Statewide

Muslim Could Get 10 Years in Eye-Gouge Attack, Works Insanity Plea Instead

SA: A 24-year-old man facing two attempted-assault charges will be committed to the state hospital for a psychological examination.

Jamal Morris had been scheduled to be arraigned at Circuit Court on Thursday via videoconference from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. However, Judge Richard Perkins continued legal proceedings and ordered Morris to undergo an examination to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Morris, 24, on a first-degree attempted-assault charge, a felony charge that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Background: Honolulu Muslim Leader Accuses Radical Muslim of Two Local Attacks

read ... Is Islam Criminal or Insane?

Legislators encouraged to revisit HCDA mandate

Borreca: Since its inception in 1976 as the Kakaako Community Development District, the Hawaii Community Development Authority has become something of a legislative octopus, with its growing tentacles grasping more and more....

"We need to revisit it, going back to its enactment in 1976. The Legislature created HCDA, so it is incumbent on us to see if this pro- cess is still working. I think the process can be improved," said Saiki, who is House Democratic leader and an architect of the new group running the state House.

Like state Rep. Sylvia Luke, finance chairwoman, Saiki fears that concerns of the Legislature are being set aside as the Hawaii government bureaucracy churns along.

"There is an accountability issue here,' Saiki said.

Two things bother Saiki: The HCDA is not only approving many big developments with little public input, but it is also granting many exemptions to state laws set in place to guide development. Last year, Saiki introduced a bill to require that before any HCDA exemptions for things such as building height or alignment or density are granted, the Legislature would also have to approve them. The bill didn't pass, but it shows that Saiki is concerned.

His concern is about the broad power given to the HCDA, which, because it was created to outflank the city, operates without county approvals....

"The HCDA is like a mini-PLDC. The exemptions are not as broad, but because it is autonomous, unilateral decisions can be made, and it enjoys exemptions from other government regulations," Saiki said....

Good development has broad sidewalks, lots of green spaces between high-rises, with schools put into the mix. It comes about because someone has publicly answered questions such as: What happens when 10,000 new Kakaako residents all go to work at the same time? Where do they park?

read ... Legislators encouraged to revisit HCDA mandate

Kakaako residents give lawmakers an earful on the proposed massive development plans

KITV: Furious Kakaako residents said the new development plans would change their area too fast, and make it too massive blocking million dollar views. After months of feeling ignored by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees the plans, they were finally able to speak out.

"A lot of them were taken by surprise by these proposals they are not sure how they can be heard on these proposals as they are being decided by by the HCDA," said Rep. Scott Saiki of District 26.

It will be about 20,000 more residents. Late in the meeting on Thursday, there was a surprise guest, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who said new residents should be welcomed. He sees the future of Kakaako with more affordable work-force housing, something many at the meeting do not like.
"I'm not that concerned that your values are going to down because of the people that are going to go into Kakaako.

KITV: Ward Village tower to displace handful of tenants

read ... Earful

Hawaii Co Council Passes 10.8% Tax Hike

HTH: A handful of people submitted written testimony, primarily opposing property tax hikes.

Testifier Tim Rees targeted the contingency account in particular. The account, which had been a staple in the county’s Legislative Branch budget for years, had been suspended during the poor economy and brought back this year by Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“The unrequested $900,000 council contingency funds are I won’t say a bribe, but a pre-reward on your anticipated cooperation on the mayor’s budget,” Rees said. “If you believe that our county government has squeezed all the fat out of the budget … Give me a break.”

Kenoi submitted the revised $394.3 million budget that’s $27 million, or 7.4 percent, higher than this year’s budget, but still $8.9 million less than when he took office in 2008.

The expanded budget will be paid for with property tax hikes of 10.2 to 10.8 percent, which councilmembers also approved Thursday.

In addition, motorists would see their total state and local taxes and fees rise annually by $24.70 to $176.70, the first county increase since 2004. Bus riders would pay $1 more a trip, with regular riders charged $2 and seniors, students and disabled paying $1. Those hikes require separate council votes in the coming month.

Kenoi praised the council action Thursday.

HTH: Property tax hike OK’d

read ... Tax Hikes

Booted from LUC, Duane Kanuha Appointed Planning Director for Hawaii County

HTH: Taking over as planning director is Duane Kanuha, a former state Land Use Commission chairman and a former county planning director….

Kanuha served as the county’s deputy planning director from 1976 to 1984, and was planning director from 1988 to 1990 during the administration of the late Mayor Bernard Akana. He was Hawaii Island commissioner on the state Land Use Commission from 2005 to 2011, and was chairman of the commission from 2008 to 2009. In 2007, Kanuha was appointed executive vice president of Kohala Investment Works LLC, a subsidiary of Surety Kohala Corporation….

read … Kanuha

Schatz Hires Mufi Operative to Manage Campaign

RC: Schroers was born and raised in Hawaii. He has managed several congressional races, including New York Rep. Dan Maffei’s successful comeback bid last year. He also served as an aide to Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

“He is a seasoned manager with a deep understanding and love of Hawaii,” Schatz said in a statement Thursday. “He will help us run a dynamic grassroots campaign, focused on forging an even stronger, more prosperous future for the people of this state. We are looking forward to an exciting campaign and welcome Clay aboard.”

read ... Schatz Hires Schroers to Manage Campaign

UH Tickets Investigation Targets Dahilig

HNN:Over the last three years, former UH Regent Michael Dahilig received dozens of UH tickets worth $5,359, sometimes receiving three, four and in one case seven free tickets to different UH games. This policy would not allow that to happen again.

Dahilig, whose regent's term expired last year, applied to become the Board of Regents' executive secretary, a six-figure position that has been vacant for the past six months.  The regents have not taken action on that appointment.

DN:  Therapy for DHHL, UH whatever else ails us as a state

read ... Target Identified

UH West Oahu cost overruns mount

HNN: "It is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg," said state Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai.

"There are people with financial responsibilities and fiduciary authorization that have not done it well."

The $120,000 coffee shop was a late add-on the original building plans. It's one of 260 amendments that increased the school's construction costs by $14 million dollars.

A Hawaii News Now review of these so-called change orders found a number of big-ticket items such as a $2 million solar farm that was supposed to be built on the south side of the campus and hundreds of thousand of dollars to change the direction school's roadway entrance.

Due to the overruns, the school also put construction of new administrative building on hold. School officials are now crammed into rooms around campus due to the stalled construction.

"We're talking 13, 14, $15 million dollars. It shows me it's not proper fiscal management," Slom said.

read ... UHWO

4 Hawaiian charters get accredited

SA: Four of the state's 17 public charter schools with Hawaiian-focused programs have gained full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The milestone culminated a three- to four-year process for the schools, which serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The schools are:

  • » Kanu ‘o Ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School in Waimea on Hawaii island.
  • » Ke Kula ‘o Nawahio-kalani‘opu‘u Iki Laboratory in Keaau on Hawaii island.
  • » Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory in Kaneohe.
  • » Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau a Kahelelani Aloha New Century Public Charter School in Kekaha on Kauai.

Two of the schools — Kamakau and Nawahio-kalani‘opu‘u Iki — are Hawaiian-language immersion schools.

read ... 4 Hawaiian charters get accredited

Rape: Thousands of Homosexuals in Military Could Face Prison, Dishonorable Discharge 

HNN: A recent Pentagon study estimates 26,000 people in the Armed Forces were sexually assaulted last year.  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard calls it an epidemic that's "undermining the construct of our military".

Roughly 20% of all service members are female, but Gabbard says data indicates more than half of all military sexual assault victims are men....

Congresswoman Gabbard says the solution starts with a victim-centered response.  She co-sponsored a House version of the Senate's Military Justice Improvement Act, which would remove commanders from deciding whether sex assault cases go to court martial.

"We take this completely out of the chain of command, so that there is no fear of retaliation.  There is no fear that my career will be ruined if I share my traumatic experience with someone else, and that no single person within that chain of command will have the power to overturn an independent investigation or overturn the results of a prosecution," explained Gabbard.

Representative Gabbard says the next step is implementing swift, serious consequences for anyone convicted of sexual assault.

"There's no question about the fact that anyone who has committed such a heinous act is not just kicked out of the military, but is kicked out of the military with a dishonorable discharge and serves time," said Gabbard.

KGI: Gabbard to discuss sexual assault in the military after screening

Background: DoD Report: 14,000 Military Personnel Victims of Homosexual Rapists

read ... "there are predators who wear the uniform"

Liliha hospital to serve elderly

SA: St. Francis will announce at a news conference today that it is investing $10 million to convert three floors of the Li­liha campus into a 100-bed skilled-nursing facility, a first step to an envisioned long-term care campus for Hawaii’s growing number of seniors.

Eventually, St. Francis hopes to add independent living, assisted living, a memory care unit and many more services for seniors. What was an acute-care hospital will eventually become a health and wellness center that caters to Hawaii’s older adult population.

“As part of an extensive 20-year plan, St. Francis Healthcare System divested its two acute hospitals in January 2007, specifically to focus its attention and energies on home- and community-based care,” the Franciscan sisters said in a news release.

read ... Liliha hospital to serve elderly

Wind, Solar Scammers Dependent on Multi-Million Dollar 'Smart Grid'

HB: Kaheawa poses as many questions as it answers. How do you integrate variable electricity generation from wind farms and photovoltaic systems into the electrical grid without compromising reliability? How do we pay the enormous cost of modernizing the grid to accommodate these renewables? And how do we monitor and regulate these changes to make sure the grid is ready for the 21st century? Most experts believe that the answer to these questions lies in a collection of new technologies and practices known collectively as the “smart grid.” In fact, Maui Electric Co. (a division of Hawaiian Electric Industries) has joined the Hawaii Renewable Energy Institute, the U.S. Department of Energy, General Electric and a few other partners in a smart grid pilot project in Wailea. But it’s not clear that MECO (or the rest of the state) is fully ready for the smart grid.

read ... Your rates going up

Who's Driving TheBus? Honolulu Councilman Wants Ethics Oversight

CB: Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan wants to bring a little clarity to who’s in charge of TheBus, and has introduced legislation to shine a brighter light on those who oversee its operations.

Oahu Transit Services is a private nonprofit organization that gets paid more than $220 million to provide more than 75 million bus rides a year, about 1 million of those to people with disabilities.

The agency has a seven-member board of directors and an executive staff that makes sure buses and Handi-Van shuttles show up on time and in good enough condition to get people where they’re going.

OTS has more than 1,800 employees, most of them drivers and members of the Teamsters union.

But unlike other entities that oversee city services — such as the City Council, Board of Water Supply and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation — OTS officials don’t have to follow municipal ethics laws.

They’re not required to file financial disclosure statements with the Honolulu Ethics Commission or receive mandatory training that, among other things, teaches them how to avoid conflicts of interest and to not use public resources for personal gain.

Manahan introduced Bill 32 last week to bring OTS under the purview of the Ethics Commission

read ... Who's Driving TheBus?

State sues parking boot companies

HNN: A company that specializes in booting cars is hit with a civil lawsuit. The state is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop what it calls an illegal practice.

In the complaint filed today the State Office of Consumer Protection argues towing is the only legal way to deal with an unauthorized parked car which is why it wants to stop parking boot companies from operating.

Related: Towing Companies Bill to kick boot competitors awaits governor's move

read ... State sues parking boot companies

Homeless cleanups to be Monthly

KHON: The area has been the scene of several crimes in recent months and gets frequent cleanups at taxpayer expense.

It’s a sore spot for businesses on Kilihau Street near Nimitz Highway. The homeless camps have taken claim to the area underneath the airport viaduct.

“It’s a little it unnerving ’cause you never know what’s going on over there,” Homebrew in Paradise president Mike Smith said.

On Thursday, there was a kidnapping and first-degree attempted sex assault in the area. Also this month, a 59-year-old man was killed in a stabbing. Earlier this year, Hawaiian Telcom fiber optic cables were vandalized twice….

According to the state Department of Transportation, for several years road crews would clear out the homeless and clean up the area. They say it costs $100,000 every six months.

“Then when officers leave, they go right back under the freeway. We see that month after month after month,” a near by worker Styles Oana said.

The DOT says because of the persistent problem, they are switching things up. State crews will now begin doing cleanups every month.

The estimated price tag for that is about $20,000 for each visit, which would add up to more money spent each year.

read … Homeless

3rd Annual Women’s Veteran Day Celebration

The Veteran Centers of Hilo and Kona along with the help of various agencies are hosting the 3rd Annual Women Veteran Day Celebration Event August 17, 2013 (Sat) 10 am - 4:00 pm at Pohakuloa Training Area to celebrate and honor our women Veterans who served in military and service members who are still serving.  Program will include Veterans Benefits Information, Women and Veteran Resources, a Pot-Luck Luncheon, Entertainment, and a guided tour of PTA. To gain access to PTA requires an RSVP…. So please contact us as soon as possible to arrange for proper access.



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