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Sunday, January 01, 2017
January 1, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:35 PM :: 3699 Views

State spends $72K to monitor your social media accounts

112 Candidates Register for Neighborhood Board Elections

CNMI Government Takes House Lot from Owner, Refuses to Pay

Annual Registration of Mopeds Required Beginning January 2017

Video: Hawaii GMO Papaya Real Solutions Real Lives

Mark Moses was a Mensch

Ige to be Tossed out in 2018?

Borreca: The Ige victory was widely seen not as the sudden materialization of a new captivating political figure…but rather voters saying, “Anybody but Abercrombie.”….

Now, two years later, Ige is trudging through his first term, raising neither expectations nor his voice.

Ige has set up a somewhat solitary administration. His major effort at collaboration has been his involvement in setting up a team to advise the school system on the “Every Student Succeeds Act” ….

Ige now faces a Legislature that may be almost completely populated with Democrats but not Ige supporters.

Some longtime Democrats are saying that Ige is just not a political leader.

“I don’t see him reaching out and talking to us, getting us together regarding the direction of his plans — having him tell us what he would like to do. We are lacking with leadership all over the place,” said one lawmaker who asked for anonymity.

Ige’s problem is that he just doesn’t get any support for his programs, and he has not been clear in pushing a specific direction.

Veteran legislator Rep. Marcus Oshiro, the Democratic policy leader, says Ige is having problems with both Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance chairwoman, and Sen. Jill Tokuda, Senate Ways and Means chairwoman.

“I will be honest and frank. I hear it both inside the Capitol and outside,” Oshiro said. “There seems to be an exaggerated tension between the Legislature and the governor.”

Oshiro added that there are political overtones because “whether he succeeds or not will be a reflection not on just his administration, but his chances for re-election in 2018.”

As it stands now, it is a big question mark.

SA: 2018: Abercrombie Revenge Round vs Ige?

read … David Ige finds little support in the Legislature

To Satisfy Protesters, Locals May be Kicked off Mauna Kea

HTH: …OMKM is looking at some rules that could change the way residents and visitors enjoy Mauna Kea.

Public access at Mauna Kea is a part of the Office of Mauna Kea Management’s Comprehensive Management Plan, which is intended to give a framework of measures “to protect the cultural, natural and scientific resources” at areas managed by the University of Hawaii.

Access, the report explains, covers everyone who isn’t an on-duty employee of a facility at Mauna Kea, such as hikers, hunters, tourists and cultural practitioners.

In 2008, rangers at Mauna Kea counted more than 30,700 vehicles at the summit. In 2015, rangers observed about 35,300 vehicles, according to Nagata.

Under the 2015 summary of proposed rules, the office could establish a “reasonable schedule of visiting hours” and some vehicle access might be restricted.

While there are culturally significant factors to consider, there are also potential hazards to safeguard against. Proposed rules could also limit certain recreational activities that carry safety risks.

Camping, for example, wouldn’t be allowed, states the report, explaining that the remoteness and “extreme conditions” at Mauna Kea limit the capabilities of emergency responders.

There could also be limits on “snow play” for visitors who travel to the Mauna Kea when snow falls, which it did in December — a novelty that draws all the more spectators.

Mauna Kea, the report states, doesn’t have the infrastructure to support snow recreation and snowfall could hide rough, rocky terrain.

“Mauna Kea is not a ski resort, nor are ski or snow recreational contests an appropriate use of the summit,” stated the report.

As a result, they proposed banning snowboards, skis and other devices that don’t have brakes or directional control. The rules would also prohibit all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles as well as towing people on skis or sleds with a motor vehicle.…

Under the 2015 report, violators can face removal from the volcano and a fine that ranges from $100 to $2,500 depending on the impact of the violation with steeper fines of up to $10,000 for repeat offenders.

Meanwhile: Fund created to bring in TMT protesters from mainland

read … No Locals Allowed

2017 Plan: Put 662 more Homeless on the Streets and Help them to Just Say No To Shelter

SA: Hawaii will take new approaches to reducing homelessness in 2017 and Honolulu should see several new projects come online, including the state’s first all-in-one project that will provide showers, laundry machines, two floors of permanent housing, and social services for mental illness and substance abuse in Iwilei…. (Translation: Help keep the homeless comfy on the streets so they will be even more resistant to housing.)

…there are already signs of problems as the state attempts to change the culture at island homeless shelters by giving clients more space while trying to move them faster into permanent housing.

Shelter operators representing eight of Hawaii’s homeless shelters told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in November that new state Department of Human Services contracts would require eliminating a total of 662 beds when the new contracts begin in February.  (Yep.  That’s 662 more homeless put back on the streets and 662 more exucses for the homelessness industry to oppose the sweeps which liberate the homeless from their grip.)

In December, officials at Waipahu Lighthouse Outreach Center said they will have to eliminate another 100 beds when their shelter closes next month because it can’t comply with the new requirements.

read … Help Keep the Homeless on the Streets

WSJ: “A lot of people are going to end up on the streets”

WSJ: …some advocates worry some of the state’s actions could ultimately make it harder for the state to house its needy residents….

Hawaii’s new criteria for all state-funded shelters next year, are spurring a debate….

shelter providers say the new regulations, requiring more personal space for homeless individuals in shelters, and more toilets and showers, would result in hundreds of fewer beds….

Eight shelter providers recently estimated that they would collectively drop from 1,841 shelter beds to 1,179 beds under the new requirements, said Kimo K. Carvalho, director of community relations for the Institute for Human Services, which manages the Hale Mauliola center.

“A lot of people are going to end up on the streets,” said Sheila Beckham, chief executive of Waikiki Health, which operates the Next Step shelter in Honolulu, and estimates it will lose 100 beds.

Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, said the state is reviewing proposals from shelters and couldn’t speculate about how many beds would be available next year…..

read … The Wall Street Journal

Will Chief Kealoha be Fired Wednesday?

SA: …Commission Chairman Max Sword has declined to comment on what options the commission will consider at its meeting or to specifically say whether termination will be one of the options.

But Mayor Kirk Caldwell has urged the commission to take decisive action, and other community leaders have called for a change in leadership, saying the ongoing controversy has tainted the department, created morale problems and eroded public trust.

The grand jury is investigating alleged corruption within HPD stemming from a case over a stolen mailbox. That mailbox belonged to Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a deputy prosecutor, and the case has led to a tangle of investigations, lawsuits and unflattering publicity….

But removing the chief might not be so easy since Kealoha signed his employment contract under the commission’s old rules, not the new voter-approved ones that will enable the panel to remove or suspend a chief for any reason, including behavior inconsistent with the public interest….

read … It Goes to the Top

Rail Starts New Year with New Contractor

SA: …Oahu residents should see construction push further east past Aloha Stadium next year, approaching the airport and Middle Street. Rail’s latest construction joint venture, Shimmick/Traylor/Granite, was given notice to proceed on Dec. 1.

The firm replaces Kiewit Infrastructure West, which often clashed with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and in 2017 is expected to finish the rail guideway’s first 10 miles. The firm did not bid on rail’s latest major construction contract.

Observers will monitor whether Shimmick/Traylor/Granite can keep to their $875 million budget for rail’s next 5.2 miles and four stations. Potentially costly power line-relocation conflicts with Hawaiian Electric Co. still lie along the route there….

Developer Stanford Carr: Raise Your GE Taxes to Pay for my TOD Opportunities

read … New Contractor

What Can Be Done About Obama’s Tuna Monuments?

NYT: The Antiquities Act does not explicitly give a new president — Donald Trump, in this case — the authority to overturn a monument designation; legal experts say the matter has not been tested in court. But Congress could cause trouble going forward. One particularly aggrieved member of Congress is Rob Bishop of Utah, the powerful head of the House Natural Resources Committee. Mr. Bishop, who objected strongly to the Bears Ears designation, had earlier engineered House approval of a bill that would have stripped Mr. Obama and any future president of the unilateral authority to create monuments. That bill is certain to resurface in the new Congress….

read … Resurface

Kauai: Move past Bill 2491 to era in which all farmers can prosper

KGI: In 10 days, the County Council will take up a resolution to correct the serious public policy error made with enactment of Bill 2491, the 2013 anti-GMO measure later repurposed as pesticide legislation.

As is now well-known, federal courts at both trial and appellate levels ruled that Bill 2491 conflicted with state law, which grants the state of Hawaii the power to regulate both GMOs and pesticides.

In response, County Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Vice Chair Ross Kagawa have advocated repeal of Bill 2491. They make the simple argument that because federal courts have invalidated it and its proponents clearly do not plan to pursue further appeals, there is no earthly reason for this bad law to remain on the books….

read … Move On

Maui: Anti-GMO HAPA Files Another bogus complaint against Council Chair

MN: Another complaint was filed against Maui County Council Chair Mike White on Friday, requesting an investigation and ruling by the Office of Information Practices for “egregious violations” of the state Sunshine Law.

(Translation: The anti-GMO idiots came up one vote short of taking over the council so this is Plan B.)

The Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action claims that White met with multiple members of the council, discussed the council organization and came to a decision that involved agreement by a quorum — all without public notice or a public meeting — shortly after Election Day. The group’s filing argues that White’s actions violate the law or spirit of the law and that a formal ruling by OIP be issued with recommended penalties, if appropriate.

“The Sunshine Law, like all other laws, should be taken seriously and followed,” Gary Hooser, HAPA board president, said in a news release. “The point of this law is to make government open and accountable to ‘the people’ for its decisions. As a legislative body, county councils should be held to the highest standard and lead by good example.”

White countered in an email to The Maui News that an opinion letter published by OIP on Nov. 14, 2002, confirmed that incoming council members are not subject to the state Sunshine Law until taking office. He added that the complaint filed by HAPA is “highly political and unsubstantiated….

read … Another complaint is filed against Mike White

DoH Wants Epidemiologists to Address Chemophobia, Mass Hysteria

SA: …The HEER office has been operating without an environmental epidemiologist for four or five years. The division had a couple lower-level specialists in epidemiology, but those jobs were eliminated.

Still, the department has been moving ahead in manually reviewing five years of lab tests on lead and is expected to release the results of their review in the coming weeks. But just scrubbing the data to get it into a usable form has been a painstaking process.

Other past data likely has limited use. The data on pesticides, for example, likely has limited value because there is no baseline for individual patients to compare the results to.

The new MAVEN software system is expected to be up in March, and results on lead will be automatically inputted. Brooks said she hopes that the system can be expanded in the future to include results for other heavy metals and pesticides and that they will eventually have an epidemiologist to oversee the system.

Brooks noted that a well-funded state such as California has many epidemiologists. “But certainly there is a need for one (here), especially with the public concern about chemicals, not only pesticides, but air pollution and emissions from industrial processes and landfills,” she said….

read … Creating Positions

Soft on Crime: Plea Deal Gets Thug Off Easy on Third Strike

MN:  …Mones said that the rear right portion of his truck was damaged. Because Namauu said he was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait for police to provide information, Mones was using his cellphone to take a photo of Namauu’s license plate for his insurance when Namauu grabbed and smashed the phone.

Namauu punched Mones in the face repeatedly, causing him to fall backward onto the pavement, said Deputy Prosecutor Lyle Keanini. He said that surveillance video showed Namauu punching Mones as he lay on the ground.

When Mones sat up, Namauu returned and kicked Mones in the face, Keanini said….

Mones said that he was trying to drive away in his truck when he passed out. A teacher at the preschool in the complex saw him and called an ambulance, Mones said.

He said he was hospitalized for four days after suffering a blood clot in his brain and facial fractures….

…Jordan Namauu, 19, of Kahului was ordered to pay $5,099 in restitution as part of four years’ probation.

“You broke his phone. You broke his face. You broke his spirit,” 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said to Namauu during his sentencing. “You’re so lucky that he survived.”

“I’m blessed, your honor,” Namauu responded.  (To avoid justice for the third time!)

“And he survived due to his own will,” Bissen said. “You left. You never got help for him. You just left, like you hit the side of a rubbish can.”

“I was scared,” Namauu said.

“How can you be the one scared when he’s the guy lying in the pool of blood?” Bissen asked….

He said that the assault was the third by Namauu, whose probation for another assault as a juvenile had ended two and a half months before he assaulted Mones. Namauu’s record includes another assault as a juvenile, Bissen said….

“The only reason I’m not sending you to prison today is to give you a (FOURTH!) chance to show this won’t happen again.”….

Bissen said Namauu explained to police that he was a trained mixed martial arts fighter….

Dec 2016: Convicted Criminal Elle Cochran Announces Candidacy for Maui Mayor

read … Will be Running for Mayor in 20 Years

Not Enough Applicants for Hilo Circuit Court Judgeship

HTH: …It likely will take more than a month to swear in a permanent replacement for Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn S. Hara, who retired at the end of working hours Friday.

The state Judicial Selection Commission’s application deadline for Hara’s successor was Dec. 6. It was the second deadline for applications for candidates to fill the seat vacated by Hara, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 this month. The first deadline was July 28.

“We felt like there just weren’t enough applicants … so they extended the deadline, and far as I know, we got some more applicants,” commissioner Mike Middlesworth said Friday.

The commission has a January meeting, and is required by the state constitution to whittle the number of qualified applicants down to a short list of four to six candidates to be submitted to Gov. David Ige. The governor is then required to make an appointment from the list within 30 days of receipt, and his selection is subject to confirmation by the state Senate. If the governor fails to select a candidate within 30 days, selection will be up to the commission, again, subject to Senate approval. If the senate fails to rule on an appointment within 30 days, the selection will be considered confirmed.

If the Senate rejects Ige’s selection, then the governor has 10 days to make another appointment from the list.

“As soon as it’s finalized, it’s shared publicly,” state Judiciary spokeswoman Tammy Mori said about the short list.

A circuit judge’s term in office is 10 years and the annual salary is $197,112….

HTH: From gavel to travel: Hara reflects on career of dispensing justice

read … Vacancy

2016 Wrapups

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