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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
December 10, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:22 PM :: 2211 Views

TMT - Hawaii Owes You an Apology

Surfing the Nations - Transforming Wahiawa and the World

A Day in the Life of a Napali Coast Ranger

Witch Hunt: UH Manoa seeking nominations for commission to address racism and bias on campus

Office of Elections Retaliation Games: Seven Years Later Scott Nago Victims Still in Court

WHT: … Who is taxedtodeath?

That was the question of the day Friday, as attorneys for county Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto, former County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, the county and the unknown individual faced off in Kona Circuit Court.

Nakamoto’s attorney, Ted Hong, has been pressing for the identity of taxedtodeath, a pseudonym for someone who previously commented on Hawaii Tribune-Herald articles online. Hong said the person, when commenting in the newspaper, had information that was the substance of a confidential county investigative report….

Nakamoto and former elections clerk Shyla Ayau sued for defamation after statements by Yagong and former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi were quoted in a Jan. 12, 2012, article in Big Island newspapers naming four employees who had been fired for allegedly violating county policy. In the article, written by former Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter Jason Armstrong, Kawauchi identifies the four who were fired.

The case went up to the Hawaii Supreme Court, which sent it back down for further proceedings for all defendants except Kawauchi, who was dismissed from the case. The circuit court must decide, because “whether Yagong’s allegedly defamatory statements were true involves a disputed question of material fact,” the Supreme Court order said.

If statements are true, there is no defamation, the court said in dismissing Kawauchi’s case. Higher courts rule only on the law; it’s up to the circuit court to rule on facts in a case….

Background:

read … Attorney suing county wants to know who’s taxedtodeath

Ooops! So-Called Biodegradable Plastic Substitutes Can’t be Composted

SA: … One is that a substitute material, polylactic acid (PLA), is often called “biodegradable,” but it won’t break down in any ordinary composting bin. That requires conditions generally present only in an industrial composting facility, of which Oahu has none…

IQ Test: Honolulu will have an ‘industrial composting facility’ real soon  T/F

(Don’t worry. H-Power will recycle the plastic substitutes just like H-Power recycles the regular plastics.  The only difference is you will pay more.  And you won’t be as much of a sinner.  All Glory to the Goddess Gaia.)

Big Q: Are you becoming more mindful (brainwashed) about your usage of plastics and foam ware? 

MT: Honolulu Takes on the Plastic Problem: Will their leadership encourage Maui to do the same?

read … Oooops!

3 New Bills to Drive up Construction Costs: City Continues War Against Affordable Housing ‘Monster’

SA:  … Ordinance 19-3 (formerly Bill 79) is intended to toughen up city codes that have failed to prevent construction of monstrosities — in extreme cases, homes with upwards of 15 bedrooms…

However, any ordinance is only as good as ability to enforce it.

And an audit released last month rated the ability of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) as subpar due to lax and inconsistent handling of permits and inspections tied to construction of oversized dwellings. As it should, the Council is now weighing a set of measures focused on tougher enforcement.

(Translation: They’ve got new ideas on how to make housing even more unaffordable.)

>> Bill 65 would force DPP to revoke a building permit if work does not start within 180 days, or is halted for at least 120 days. Revocation would also kick in if work is not completed within a stipulated time. Such action is needed to correct too-lenient practices in which flexibility in deadlines — per DPP discretion — has resulted in cases of construction sites left in limbo and the application process pushed far past intended limits.

(IQ Test: Is this only going to affect ‘Monster Houses’?)

>> Bill 67 would prohibit DPP from reducing fines for permit violations. DPP has defended a policy of accepting often significantly lower fines, arguing that compliance — not punishment — is the agency’s goal. Here, again, leniency, or enforcement avoidance, has prodded wrong-headed DPP decision-making….

(IQ Test: Is this only going to affect ‘Monster Houses’?)

>> Bill 66 would require DPP to keep on file sworn affidavits showing that layout and use of a structure are consistent with the description in the permit application and will not be altered.

(IQ Test: Is this only going to affect ‘Monster Houses’?)

Along those lines, Gov. David Ige this year signed a new law that makes it a misdemeanor to lie to government investigators or inspectors during building inspections. At city and state levels, this enforcement tool can be useful against an effort to hide intended use of structures.

Also before the City Council is a proposed question for the 2020 Oahu general election ballot asking voters whether DPP should be split into two agencies: one handling permitting regulations, and the other long-term land-use planning….

Resolution 19-325 is an opportunity for thoughtful debate about whether DPP’s is overburdened, as it’s also tasked with enforcing the city’s recently launched crackdown on illegal vacation rentals.

However, the addition of an agency will raise valid questions about more bureaucratic bloat, and alone is not a problem-solver. Not when, among other internal snags, DPP is hobbled by aging database software that has siloed data, making it difficult to both track some information and see the full reach of monster-house proliferation….

read … Editorial: Rein in ‘monster homes’ with laws, actions

Honolulu City Council Voted On Company’s Project Then Let It Buy Lunch

CB: … Right after Honolulu City Council members voted on Wednesday to advance a controversial rezoning measure, they broke for lunch – a spread of shoyu pork, chicken and salads all paid for by a company representing the landowner.

That’s despite guidance from the Honolulu Ethics Commission that government agencies should not accept gifts – defined as anything the government didn’t pay full value for – from companies with business before them.

“That’s a concern for sure,” said Natalie Iwasa, an Oahu resident who testified against Bill 27. “We have these rules in place for a reason.”

RM Towill, an engineering consultant, contributed food valued at $6 to $8 per head for about 100 people at the “holiday lunch,” according to Council Communications Director Louise McCoy….

read … Honolulu City Council Voted On Company’s Project Then Let It Buy Lunch

Next Boondoggle:  HCDA set to take over Aloha Stadium redevelopment

SA: … A state agency primarily focused on facilitating redevelopment in Kakaako is preparing to assume leadership of the effort to replace Aloha Stadium.

Board members of the Hawaii Community Development Authority endorsed a draft memorandum of understanding last week for acting as the “delivery agency” for the stadium project, which has been in a conceptual and planning phase for several years driven by the state Department of Accounting and General Services and the Aloha Stadium Authority.

Gov. David Ige in July signed a bill into law as Act 268 instructing HCDA to take a handoff from the two other entities and use its redevelopment powers to replace the old stadium on state land with a new one plus other surrounding uses on the 99-acre site in Halawa.

The stadium redevelopment project, which got rolling around 2014 with assessment studies and earlier this year received a $350 million funding commitment from the Legislature, is now on a relative fast track because building a new stadium sooner means spending less money on the existing stadium, which opened in 1975 and is plagued by severe rust and other problems.

State officials want to have a new stadium with around 35,000 seats open by fall 2023, and project it would cost far more — $420 million — to maintain the existing 50,000-seat stadium for another 20 years than to build and operate a new stadium….

(IQ Test: Do you believe this?)

read … Next Boondoggle

Legislative Agenda: 0.05% Blood Alcohol?

CB: … a zero tolerance law allows for the arrests of individuals who operate a vehicle with “a measurable amount of alcohol,” instead of the current minimum, which is .08 blood alcohol content.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green is supporting a stricter limit. In a recent interview, he said, “I believe that we’re going to first go to a .05 blood alcohol and then go to a position where society awakens … the legislative process will play out.”

(Great: Lets clog up the courts with a bunch of marginal cases when the serious drunks aren’t getting cleared off the roads as it is.)

I caution government leaders who propel a policy without fully understanding its application from theory to execution. Hawaii already has a zero tolerance law in place for drunken drivers who are under the age of 21, which is codified in Hawaii Revised Statutes 291E-64….

ABI: The move is an attack on the restaurant and hospitality industries and converts their responsible customers into criminals.

read … Rethinking A ‘Zero Tolerance’ Approach To Drunken Driving

Handi Van: Auditor’s Report Due Soon

CB: … The city auditor is expected to release a new report later this month on Handi-Van, measuring how well it met the goals of the last audit three years ago….

read … Make Honolulu’s Handi-Van Truly Handy

GAO: Fixing Shoddy Military Housing In Hawaii And Elsewhere Won’t Be Easy

CB: … A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, released last week, found that customer satisfaction information provided to the federal government by the firms has been misleading, unreliable and incomplete, allowing them to pocket incentive fees they don’t deserve.

In Hawaii, about 17,000 homes on military bases have been turned over to the control of private companies, according to the Department of Defense.

About 40% of service members live in base housing in Hawaii compared to about one-third nationwide, because of the high cost of housing in the state.

Two large firms share the military housing market in Hawaii, Australia-based Lendlease, operating as Island Palm Communities, and Hunt Military Communities, a privately-owned Texas firm that operates as Ohana Military Communities.

Members and their families in Hawaii have reported a litany of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in their homes, including dead rats, black mold, lead-based paint, sewage backups and prolonged water shutoffs….

read … GAO: Fixing Shoddy Military Housing In Hawaii And Elsewhere Won’t Be Easy

As Predicted: Ivory Ban Leads to Petty Harassment of Market Vendor

TGI: … Satow said she had a slice of an old whale tooth among the jewelry she had displayed for sale. When the officers inquired about it, she pulled out the tooth it was cut from, a piece she said she bought about 20 years ago and carries with her only for educational purposes.

“I would take it out for the children,” she said. “And the children would be in awe of seeing something like that.”

The news release said county prosecutors brought charges against Satow after a joint investigation by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed she attempted to sell pieces of jewelry she knew contained illegal whale ivory at a farmer’s market in Anahola on May 15.

“This is the first conviction for whale bone in Hawaii under the new wildlife trafficking statute that took effect on July 1, 2017,” Kauai County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said in the press release. “It shows that Kauai is on the forefront of environmental justice and we are grateful to our partners in DLNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for their diligence in this shared mission to protect our wildlife from illegal trade practices.”

According to Satow, she is not the only jewelry vendor on Kauai to be charged for ivory trafficking in recent months, but she said government officials are targeting the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

“I’m a 73-year-old woman, you know, barely surviving,” she said. “They’re extracting money from the artists who are creating something beautiful from a tragic situation.”

Satow said government resources directed at cracking down on small-time jewelry vendors and artists like herself would be better spent investigating the large-scale impact big industry and technology are having on whales and their environment.

“It’s for the purpose of making money. They’re not saving the whales,” she said. “I don’t see one penny being spent to save the whales by the very system that’s destroying them.”

read … Anahola woman cited for attempting to sell prohibited ivory

How Many Bird Species will go Extinct Because of Anti-GMO Activists?

CB: …Only 17 forest bird species are left in the islands, down from more than 50 that evolved here over thousands of years, according to the Audubon Society. And nearly all of those that persist appear poised for extinction in this century as threats to their survival intensify with the onset of climate change.

Over time, Hawaii’s mountaintop forests have become the birds’ last refuge. That’s because this high-elevation habitat has historically been too cool to host the birds’ most severe threat: mosquitoes carrying avian malaria.

… Here’s the plan: Scientists want to collect wild Southern house mosquitoes from the forests where the birds live and infect the bugs with a bacteria called Wolbachia.

The Southern house mosquito, and most insects in the world, already carry one of five strains of the bacteria in their reproductive tract. But scientists are finding that if they drain the Southern house mosquito of its natural bacteria strain and infect it with a different strain sourced from another species of Hawaii mosquito, they’ll achieve a new form of mosquito birth control.

Scientists would then release into the wild a large batch of these male mosquitoes, which are infected with the different Wolbachia strain, to mate with wild females. The distinction in bacteria strains between the males and females would render their offspring sterile. …

Another means involves modifying the genome to make the males sterile. This GMO approach is being pursued in Florida, where public health regulators are trying to control mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, which can cause devastating birth defects in babies whose mothers contract the virus. But it’s wildly controversial with the (hysteria crowd) public despite having gained federal approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.

Hawaii scientists and state land managers are steering clear of any GMO solutions.

Three Letters: “DDT

read … Deadly Mosquitoes Are Killing Off Hawaii’s Rare Forest Birds

Homeless Dude Poses for Insanity Plea After Murder of Acclaimed Artist

HTH: … A 55-year-old homeless Puna man accused of the Nov. 4 beating death of Shingo Honda told police “God” killed the internationally acclaimed artist, according to a court document filed by police.

The document states Michael Cecil Lee, who is charged with second-degree murder, was advised of his rights Friday evening and admitted his role in the slaying, but told detectives “God” killed the 75-year-old Honda and Lee only “layed the body down.”…

read … The Homeless are Predators not Victims

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