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Monday, January 25, 2016
January 25, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:24 PM :: 3722 Views

Crabbe: Plan is to Take Control of Hawaii’s Entire Economy and Hide Behind Tribal Jurisdiction

Bishop Museum to ‘Focus on Disposition of Assets’

Another Brand New Navy Ship Breaks Down

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 25, 2016

Ige Starting to Look Like a Weak Governor

HNN: …the Governor will be tested going into his second year of office, mainly because he’s requesting a lot more money than the legislature has funds for.

"If he can’t get this money for his homelessness task force, if he can't get money to rebuild OCCC, if he can't get the money to pay down funded liabilities, then he's going to start looking like a weak governor," Moore said.

Governor Ige plans to address issues including air conditioning for public school students and teachers and a renaissance for Kalihi including the future of the O’ahu Community Correctional Center.

"This is a very expensive proposition and voters tend to support things like school and the university before they want to spend a lot of tax dollars on a new prison,” said Moore.

The Governor will also push for affordable housing units, a key point to addressing homelessness, and investment in public housing, the Hawaii State Hospital, agriculture and innovation economy.

Perhaps the more difficult task at hand is giving voters immediate action.

"He’s caught in a difficult situation,” Moore said. “He's not going to be able to provide a quick solution and we'll see how much patience the voters have."

read … Weak

Politics At Play With UH Maintenance Backlog

CB: Walk around the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Biomedical Sciences building and you’ll find (that administrators have cleverly left) wires dangling from the ceiling, a missing fire alarm and a broken elevator (for you to find).

UH (uses this to) estimates the Biomedical Sciences building has the highest deferred maintenance costs of any building at the Manoa campus, according to the state’s supplemental budget. The building would need $23.6 million to cover air conditioning, lighting, electrical, plumbing and fire protection system repairs. (See how this works?)

But the problem with UH facilities (administrative game playing) is far larger than that.

In Hawaii Hall, the oldest permanent building on campus at nearly 104 years old, ceiling tiles on the bottom floor are missing after sustaining water damage (administrators chose not to replace them.) Office employees talk of a lanai that collapsed last year (after administrators chose not to maintain it).

Because UH (pretends it) doesn’t have the (operating) money to make any significant dent in deferred maintenance, the (capital) costs continue to pile up. In addition to the $354 million (allegedly) needed for UH Manoa, another $21.5 is needed for UH Hilo and $59.2 for the system’s community colleges.

Deferred maintenance has been a political struggle between UH and state legislators for years (finally some truth here)  – just ask Diane Shimizu, who retired in 2015 after working 27 years for the university as a building coordinator of the Biomedical Sciences building and administrative officer for the nursing and dental hygiene school.

“I think there’s a lot of problems here — political problems,” Shimizu said. “It’s not a logic problem.”  (Really?  Is it logical to work for decades in decrepit facilities in hopes of scoring big CIP contracts for your contractor buddies?)

read … Administrators at Play

Council Final Vote on massive GE Tax Hike & Rail Extension to UH Manoa Wednesday 

SA: …City Council faces that sense of inevitability on Wednesday, when it is expected to give final consideration to Bill 23 (2015), which would extend the 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax by five years, to 2027…

With the original project estimate of $3.7 billion ballooning to $6.57 billion — overwhelming a $1 billion “contingency” fund meant to cover cost overruns — Martin and the Council are (pretending to) reflecting the concerns of worried and dissatisfied constituents, who surely want more than vague explanations….

As Explained: Fake Cap becomes Real Threshold—Council now demands HART Spend Money Planning to Extend Rail to UH Manoa

read … Rail Tax Hike

Dawn Ige Headlines Education Conference

KHON: First Lady Dawn Ige sat down with teachers and school administrators — some from around the world — all with the goal of improving education.

Administrators and teachers gathered at the Hawaii Convention Center Sunday for the Hawaii School Empowerment Conference that focused on what is best for the future of education in Hawaii,

Ray L’Heureux, vice president of the Education Institute of Hawaii, said the institute’s goal is to empower administrators and schools to make the right decisions for their students, and that the one-size-fits-all model of education of the past has to change.

“For a long, long time, that narrative has been that we had the worst teachers or worst schools or the worst principals and, really, that narrative has to change,” he said….

read … Tax Hike Coming?

Business Top Priority: Stopping Tax Hikes

MN: Our current priorities for the 2016 session include both previous and new priorities. They are: maintaining taxes and fees at current levels, including the general excise tax and transient accommodations tax (TAT); requesting that Maui County receive its fair share of the TAT; championing the creation of a "business-friendly" environment; backing programs and incentives that spur appropriate economic growth; sustaining agriculture; protecting legitimate independent contractors and the individuals and companies that hire them from erroneous rulings by the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations; creating legislation that provides clarification and protection over hiring practices; working toward making Kahului Airport an international airport and having the state conduct the needed environmental assessment; providing gate preferences to our local airlines at state airports; recommending that lawmakers enact legislation to require a fiscal, business, and economic impact evaluation on new pieces of legislation for consideration of impacts before enacting new laws; asking for a solid plan to pay down the unfunded liabilities debt as soon as possible, recognizing that our state is essentially bankrupt; improving the state educational system and furthering STEM opportunities; repairing our aging infrastructure; expediting the creation of affordable housing; supporting endeavors to address homelessness; requesting increased funding for the control of invasive species (such as little fire ants, coqui frog, etc.); spurring efforts to prevent beach erosion.

As the session moves forward, more items may be added to this list….

read … Maui Chamber of Commerce

County Councils’ Priorities: Gut Sunshine Law, Abolish First Amendment

MN: Once again, county council members are seeking the Legislature's assistance in revising open-government laws to promote accessibility, rather than hinder it. A bill in the HSAC package would permit members of a county council to jointly attend and speak at a community, educational or informational meeting or presentation, as long as the event is open to the public.

Finally, the HSAC package includes a request that the Legislature adopt a resolution to urge U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Mark Takai to propose a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United opinion by the Supreme Court. The constitutional amendment would establish that corporations aren't people and unlimited campaign spending isn't free speech (Translation: Abolish free speech). All four councils have adopted similar resolutions….

read … HSAC Sea of Ignorance

School-community councils Inactive at many Schools

CB: …a decade after Act 51 mandated that each school in the state have a school community council, it’s unclear how well the system is — or isn’t — working when it comes to giving parents and community members a voice in how schools are run.

Some schools have active and robust councils with large turnouts at monthly meetings. At other schools, it’s difficult to even verify the existence of an SCC beyond a signature on the two plans each year.

As of early January, fewer than half of the public schools in the state had posted a meeting agenda for the 2015-16 school year on the state’s school document website.

The Department of Education no longer has a full time employee working with the SCCs, nor a comprehensive list of SCC officers and members — something that should be posted online for the public to access according to the department’s own guidelines.

Only 28 of the schools that did have information posted in January had uploaded all their agendas at least six days prior to the meeting — a requirement of the law.

And last year, less than a quarter of school community councils in the state submitted an end of the year self-assessment of their work, a remarkable decline from previous years.

read … Decline

HB1680: Outlaw Non-Dispensary Marijuana

WHT: As the state’s medical cannabis dispensary program gets underway, one lawmaker is proposing a twist — limiting purchases to dispensaries only.

House Bill 1680, introduced by Oahu Democrat Rep. Marcus Oshiro, would prohibit patients from growing their own medical marijuana and instead require them to obtain it through a state-licensed dispensary.

“Continuing to allow qualifying medical marijuana patients to grow marijuana at home will undermine the dispensary system … by obstructing the ability of the state to adequately monitor the distribution of this product,” the bill reads.

Oshiro told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald the measure would help law enforcement regulate and control the drug — and also keep it away from youths. Once a regulated dispensary system is established, he said, there would be adequate means for patients to access cannabis, and “no need for any home-grow by patients and caregivers.”

The law as proposed would take effect July 1, 2017, nearly a year after licensees are able to begin dispensing. In 2018, under existing law the caregiver program will be eliminated….

Two Big Island physicians also renounced the measure. Charles Webb, who operates the Medical Use of Marijuana clinic, called the proposal “foolish and selfish.” State Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat who represents Kona and also a physician, thinks it’s immoral. (LOL!)

read … Immorality

Judicial system should keep child molesters off the street

WHT: …The bail is so minimal for these molesters, that they are now out, and how are we to protect our children? I read in today’s paper on Jan. 21 another molester, Ethan Ferguson, who was also charged with five counts of sexual assault for allegedly molesting a minor on Jan. 1 at Keaukaha Beach Park, was released on $13,000 bail pending a scheduled appearance of Feb. 2….

SA: Lawsuit show how career predators are abetted by powerful entities such as Kamehameha Schools

read … Molesters

Body Cam Rules top Police Reform Agenda

CB: Civil Beat has identified body camera legislation as one of four critical areas of law enforcement reform it is supporting in the 2016 legislative session.

Hawaii lawmakers considered two bills last year that would have helped pay for body cams for police agencies around the state, but both measures failed. Now Rep. Matt LoPresti is introducing a measure that doesn’t seek to provide the cameras, but would regulate their use including how the footage they collect is stored, archived, deleted and shared with the public.

Based in large part on model legislation created by the American Civil Liberties Union, LoPresti’s bill speaks to some of the most challenging legal and ethical issues around body cam use.

read … Reform Agenda

Grand jury to look into airport bribery allegations

HNN: Sources tell Hawaii News Now that the panel is targeting several employees of Securitas, which holds the lucrative contract to provide private security services for all of the state's airports….

Hawaii News Now first reported on the the allegations six months ago when informants told us they wore wires and carried hidden cameras to document payoffs demanded by Securitas workers. They said they paid about $10,000 in bribes to allow them to park at the airport curbside for the allowed 15 minutes….

The informants said that if they didn't pay the kickbacks, the guards would harass them and drive away their customers.

Some drivers said they were issued tickets carrying fines of up to $2,000, even though they didn't violate airport rules.

They and other taxi drivers said they complained to the DOT but said they didn't get much help….

Securitas has a three-year, $98 million contract with the DOT.

read … DoT Paying $98M for Crooked Security at Airport

Frustration: Greenwell ‘Surprised’ By Sudden Bishop Museum Sale Announcement

WHT: “We were very surprised by Bishop Museum’s sudden announcement of their intent to sell the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden,” she said. “Kealakekua Ranch and Amy Greenwell made substantial gifts of land and monetary instruments to the Bishop Museum over the years to ensure the garden would be preserved to protect the unique plants it holds as well as be a resource for the community and a place for people to come and enjoy those unique plants.”

Bishop Museum President and CEO Blair Collis said recently that following the closure, the museum will continue to maintain the property while looking for the next steward. He said a sale wasn’t pending but couldn’t be reached for comment over the weekend.

WHT: A level of frustration bubbled beneath the surface of what many people see as a passionate topic, with several people expressing frustration about how the museum has gone about trying to sell the property that was given to them.

News Release: Bishop Museum to ‘Focus on Disposition of Assets’

read … Betrayal

Analyst: LNG Likely Would Save Hawaii Billions

CB: A risk analysis by the sustainable investment firm Ulupono projects that switching to LNG could save Hawaii at least $7.3 billion over 15 years…..

(Don’t worry.  The enviros will stop this.)

IM: Hawai`i’s Pro Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Campaign Intensifies

read … Billions

Hawaii among the worst states for retirees

SA: A new study ranks Hawaii at No. 49 out of the 50 states and District of Columbia, the third-worst state in the U.S. in which to retire.

Researchers for personal finance site WalletHub.com analyzed 24 factors including adjusted cost of living, public hospital rankings and entertainment options, to name a few.

Hawaii has the highest adjusted cost of living; the 49th-highest annual cost of in-home services, and the state is in the bottom five for number of museums per capita….

read … Worst

Will barking Sands Defend Hawaii or Mainland?

SA: The Pentagon would have to decide whether a combat-ready Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai would protect either Hawaii or the mainland against a possible North Korean ballistic missile attack, because the missile defense system there would not be capable of shielding both, an East-Asia security analyst said Friday.

The idea to convert the Pacific Missile Range testing facility at Barking Sands into a combat-ready base has gained renewed interest since North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test Jan. 6, Reuters reported, citing unidentified sources.

But even with a beefed-up military presence, an arsenal of missiles and an additional $41 million annually pumped into Barking Sands, no single system can intercept both a missile aimed directly at the islands and also have the capability to hit a ballistic missile flying possibly hundreds of miles overhead

read … Protests against this soon, natch

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