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Friday, June 19, 2015
June 19, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:50 PM :: 6022 Views

DHS: For First Time Majority of Homeless Refusing Shelter

DLNR Steps in to Save Sea Cucumbers Harvested at Behest of Anti-GMO Huckster Promoting Quack Cancer Treatment

Ward, McDermott Call for Souki to Drop Complaint Against Ethics Chair

Government of a Few: New Data Shows Just How Broken Hawaii's Democracy Really Is

European Trade Talks 'Can Open Jones Act'

Rail’s Deep Black Hole

CB: The need for enormous, ongoing subsidies for rail is daunting, but new bids for three rail stations show that HART can cut costs when it tries.

As Explained: Excuse for Tax Hike Evaporates as New bids for rail stations come in $9M below estimates

read ... Deep Hole

The Average Honolulu Worker Needs 12.8 Years of Wages to Buy a House

CB: According to a new analysis by the Martin Prosperity Institute and CityLab, the average Honolulu worker would need to save wages for nearly 13 years to afford to buy a home.

That doesn’t include the added cost of mortgage interest.

The problem is worse for service workers like retail and hospitality employees who support the state’s tourism economy. For highly paid 'creative-knowledge' workers in Honolulu, the situation is better but still not great: the study found they must put aside at least 8.4 years of wages to afford a home in Honolulu, where the median home price hit $719,000 last December.

read ... 12.8 Years

Endangered Bats May Stop Wind Farm Developers

SA: A study that could have implications for Hawaii’s timber and wind-turbine industries has found evidence of two distinct lineages of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, which flew 2,500 miles across open ocean in two migratory waves.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, involved researchers from Hawaii island and Michigan, and is the first to use genetic research to find evidence of two distinct types of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats....

Related: Kahuku Windfarm Draft EIS: 21 Years of Death for Shearwater, Nene, Hoary Bat and more

read ... Save the Bats!

Marijuana to be Legal Cash Crop for Puna?

Borreca: While police and military police were rappelling from choppers to hack away at the pakalolo, folks in Hilo were seeing the illegal weed’s cash sales prop up an economy devastated by closing sugar plantations.

“I’m against legalizing marijuana and I never smoked it, but yes, I would have to say it helped the local economy,” says Big Island Democratic Rep. Clift Tsuji.  “It was a cash crop,” the former Hilo banker recalls.

Because it was also a cash business, there are no real figures for how much marijuana contributed to the economy, but longtime Hawaii islanders all have stories of growers buying big new shiny trucks with cash.

Conventional legislative wisdom has it that if Gov. David Ige approves a bill passed this year to set up medical marijuana dispensaries, it will make extensive marijuana farming legal....

read ... Desperate for a new cash cow

Another Attack on Tourists in Hanalei?

KGI: “You have a lot of local people living in Hanalei who feel like they’re being pushed out by the rich people moving in and it brings up this anti-haole attitude,” he added....

The businessman said he is so unsettled by these two incidents that he plans to reach out to other Hanalei business owners to help him fund a private security guard to monitor nighttime activity at the pier.

KE: Musings: Welcome to Johannesburg

read ... Frustration Caused by Hanalei Haole Anti-GMO Activism?

Food Justice

JC: ...back in Honolulu, checking my phone, I saw an email forwarded by a friend. It was from an organization in Oakland, Calif., advertising an expensive tour to “Join Food First to explore food justice in [sic] O’ahu.” Clicking on the link, I saw this:

Explore O’ahu’s beautiful landscapes & vibrant culinary traditions while meeting with the actors cultivating food justice in paradise.

Yeah, they’re actors all right. Because while they’ve been busy fighting biotech crops on social media, they’ve forgotten to actually produce food or feed the hungry. Though some 20 percent of the people in Hawaii depend on the food banks to eat, the anti-GMO movement has done nothing to supply the food banks, set up feeding programs, open loi or do the hard physical work of producing any significant quantity of food, much less justice.

The promo then went on to link post-WWII military expansion to the decline of “traditional food systems” and the rise of biotech with its “massive open-air chemical trials” before claiming:

Hawaiians are increasingly turning to local food and native food traditions, ecologically-based farming systems, and a re-valuing of traditional ways grounded in Aloha ‘Aina.

Really? Where, exactly? On top of Mauna Kea?

I scanned down to find the price: $2,875, not including airfare, for eight days of traipsing through “paradise” and dabbling in the very same cultural appropriation and tourism that the food tour advertisement condemned.

What if the participants instead donated that money to food banks that feed the hungry? Created an urban community garden? Cleared a ditch? Bought tractors for a farming co-op? Got their hands dirty opening a loi?

Wouldn’t that do more to achieve “food justice” than listening to anti-GMO activists spout fiction about the “vibrant movement growing across Hawaii?”

And isn’t there any food justice to be achieved in the ghettoes of Oakland, the migrant farm labor camps of Salinas? Why come to the Islands and ignore their own backyard?

I thought of the thousands of acres of irrigated farm land that at this very minute is wide open for cultivation on the westside, land never leased by the seed companies. I thought of the abandoned loi in Hanapepe, Waimea and Hanalei valleys, the hundreds of acres fertile land on the North Shore tucked away into luxury estates, all of it just waiting to be cultivated by farmers, not actors.

Perhaps, when people get hungry enough, they’ll start supporting agriculture — all agriculture — and stop attacking farms and farmers who aren’t growing food the way non-farmers think they should....

read ... Justice

Hawaii Kai Abuzz Over Possible New Restrictions on Maunalua Bay

CB: Hawaii residents have until 6 p.m. Friday to submit comments on a controversial proposal to expand areas under federal protection and strengthen rules aimed at protecting humpback whales and other marine life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been soliciting feedback for the past three months on a draft environmental impact analysis of proposals to expand Hawaii’s existing humpback whale sanctuary and impose tougher rules in areas including Maunalua Bay in heavily populated south Oahu.

Some residents worry the proposal opens the door to overregulation. It has inspired heated public meetings in Kauai and protests on Oahu....

read ... Last Day

Governor signed off on $2M for Hawaii Health Connector 2 weeks ago

PBN: State lawmakers approved $2 million in funding for the exchange In Senate Bill 1028 on May 5, after the nonprofit’s initial request for $10 million was cut down.

“The governor has signed that bill and sent us a letter stating as much,” Hawaii Health Connector Deputy Director Eric Alborg told PBN Thursday.

Ige's office confirmed that he signed the bill, which is now Act 76, two weeks ago, and said the request to release the funds is being processed, although the funds cannot be released until after July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

The exchange, which will transition to the federal exchange this fall, is awaiting approval from the federal government for approximately $10 million to assist with the transition, according to Alborg.

The state and federal funds will go to personnel, IT licensing, maintenance and operations, the contact center, and some outreach costs to cover the next fiscal year while the Connector winds down its operations, he said.

Of the total $10.2 million requested, $4.25 million has been budgeted to renew contracts for some marketplace assister organizations — nonprofits that had helped the Connector with outreach in the community.

read ... Wasted Money

Hawaii’s High Court Considers Whether Police Misconduct Should Be Public

CB: The police union is appealing a decision that ordered Honolulu police to release the files on 12 officers suspended for egregious misconduct.

read ... Public?

Hawaii Claims Zero Prisoners on the Lam Right Now

AP: The Associated Press asked all 50 states for a current total of escapees from secure, locked state prisons where they were held full-time, not including those who walked off from work release or other unfenced settings....

read ... Zero

No apparent misuse in Honolulu’s pCard spending

KHON: Over now to the rail authority, under scrutiny with a project nearly $1 billion in the red. The pCards aren’t contributing much to the deficit. In their entire history of pCard spending, all the way back to 2011, HART has spent a total of just over $641,000.

The majority was on office bills including a lot of teleconferencing. When employees did travel or hold trainings, it added up to about $150,000. Advertising spending topped six figures and there was a tidbit on food and beverage.

Whereas many agencies let pCard holders ring things up first and document later, HART’s CEO Dan Grabauskas told us they do it differently. “All pCard purchases must be preapproved by managers and our CFO before pCard expenditures are incurred by HART,” he said....

Click to view the following Honolulu pCard statements:

read ... P Card

Navy responds to hundreds at meeting over Oahu’s drinking water

KHON: Hundreds turned out a meeting Thursday night to let the Navy know they want to keep Oahu’s water supply safe.

So many people showed up it was standing room only.

As we first reported on Wednesday, the Board of Water Supply wants the Navy to take measures now to make sure its 20 fuel tanks in Red Hill don’t leak fuel into the underground water supply just 100 feet away.

The Navy said it wants to do a two-year study first before taking any action.

“Right, so I don’t want to rush to failure, I’m the lead engineer, the lead military engineer for Navy Region Hawaii. I want to make sure that we do a calculated assessment of what we can and can not do in these tanks,” said Navy Region Hawaii regional engineer Captain Dean Tufts.

read ... Water

Pasha quietly drops Tacoma route, beefs up L.A. services

HNN: Following its acquisition of Horizon Lines operations in Hawaii, the Pasha Group has dropped one route, altered service in a second quarter, and beefed up a third.

These decisions have sent some former Horizon Lines customers to rival shipping lines, at a time when Pasha is also having trouble keeping some former Horizon Lines employees.

Without announcing it widely, Pasha dropped the former Horizon service from Tacoma, Wash., forcing customers to switch either to Matson, which sails from Seattle, or one of two barge lines sailing from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii.

Pasha has also dropped the former Horizon direct sailings from Oakland, offering instead a sailing from Oakland to Honolulu by way of Los Angeles, which has diverted more business to Matson.

Matson has put an extra ship into service to accommodate all the business it has picked up from these cuts to the previous service offered by Horizon Lines. As many as 100 customers may be affected by these changes, shipping industry sources said.

Pasha this week announced a new “LA-Hawaii Express,” putting two ships into service on the Los Angeles-Honolulu corridor providing sailings in three and a half days twice a week.

read ... Pasha

Guam Second Amendment Forum Saturday

GPDN: A pro-Second Amendment rights group is hoping to provide some clarity for island gun owners who might not fully understand Guam's firearm laws.

... the local nonprofit organization "Guam Gun Owners Association" will host a Q&A forum at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday June 20.  Officials from the Attorney General's office will be present to answer questions about local gun regulations.

read ... Second Amendment

Military Contractor May Lose Medical License over Homosexual Harassment of Military Personnel

HNN: ...State investigators also say Hagmann told students in 2012 at Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, to drink large amounts of liquor and beer. He then injected them with ketamine, a hallucinogen, so he could assess the effects of the substances on their cognition.

The report also says Hagmann conducted "shock labs" at the university, which consisted of withdrawing blood from medical students, monitoring them for severe blood and fluid loss that can make the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body and can cause organs to stop working, and then auto-transfusing their blood back to them.

In 2013, the report says, students were encouraged to practice inserting catheters into one another after watching a video on the procedure at Hagmann's 20-acre facility in Pink Hill, North Carolina. When students became reluctant to participate, Hagmann volunteered to be the first subject and made demeaning remarks to men who didn't volunteer, according to the report.

That July, several students reported being told to drink at least 8 ounces of rum in 10 minutes as part of a "cognition lab" and then being injected with ketamine to experience its effects. Two students who received ketamine were given a local anesthetic typically used for procedures such as circumcisions.

That same year, Hagmann and a student were drinking beer when he asked the student questions about his uncircumcised penis, masturbation and sex. He also asked to photograph the student's penis, and the student said he was drunk and didn't feel he could refuse, the report said. Hagmann purportedly wanted to use the photos as a "training tool."

read ... Homosexual Harassment

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