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Sunday, March 12, 2017
March 12, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:51 PM :: 1326 Views

A Constitutional Amendment for Education Wars

Symposium: Caldwell’s Plan to Eliminate Lanes and Jam Up Traffic Even More

UH Board of Regents finalists for Hawaii County selected

Applicants Sought to Serve on Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court

Caldwell: Social Engineering More Important Than Affordable Housing

SA: …Perhaps the most debatable aspect of Caldwell’s plan involves requirements placed on developers.

Local economist Paul Brewbaker derides exactions of affordable housing as hurting home production that effectively drive up prices because of undersupply.

“Their restrictions on homebuilding are the cause of housing shortages and the consequent high cost of housing,” he said.

Caldwell defends inclusionary housing policies, which require developers to include an affordable housing component in their projects (resulting in fewer units than could be built on cheaper land elsewhere). “Guys are already telling me inclusionary housing doesn’t work,” he said in his speech. “But hey, has it made a difference so far? It does work. Absolutely. Five hundred communities around our country have inclusionary housing and is making a difference.” 

(Difference: Yes, 500 of the most expensive communities stay expensive thanks to the social engineering requirement that affordable units be built on the same site as luxury units.  The result is every case is fewer affordable units being built.  The justification is pure social engineering: They want people who make a measly $80K a year to have the opportunity to live near people who pay $1M for a condo.  Which is more important: Owning your own home -- or living next to a millionaire.  Caldwell has decided for you and the result is the highest housing cost in the USA.)

The mayor proposes to change an existing requirement for how much affordable housing large residential projects have to include. The change would require fewer homes and not require prices to be as low…. 

(Fewer Units Costing More: Caldwell at work.)

read … Mayor’s affordable housing plan is a stretch 

Latest Scandal Opens Door to Investigation of DOBOR Corruption

WHT: The Department of Land and Natural Resources has joined Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth in asking the state attorney general to investigate the ethics issues and allegations that continue to roil the waters at West Hawaii small boat harbors.

In the latest case, a DLNR harbor agent overseeing the Kailua-Kona and Keauhou Bay harbors was fined $1,000 for soliciting and accepting free parasailing trips from a company he regulates….

“Apart from this specific matter, DLNR has also requested an independent investigation by the Department of the Attorney General regarding all complaints or concerns involving the Hawaii Island DOBOR district,” Dennison said.

At issue at the Land Board was local charter Capt. William Murtaugh’s request for a contested case hearing after DOBOR refused to renew his commercial boat ramp permit at Keauhou Bay. Murtaugh had been questioning DOBOR’s allocation of moorings since 2012, and he claims he lost his mooring permit, his gross receipts were audited and other actions were taken by DOBOR staff in retaliation.

Murtaugh said his troubles began after he complained to DLNR officials that Nahale had altered records to misstate the size of his son’s boat, thus displacing him on a mooring waiting list. The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement turned the complaint over to Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, who initiated a criminal investigation….

Coincidentally, the same day Nahale was taking his parasail expedition in Kailua-Kona, his 2012 actions were discussed in Honolulu as part of an unrelated issue, and Case was telling the Board of Land and Natural Resources, “Just to make it crystal clear, we don’t tolerate corruption.” …  (LOL!)

Roth’s testimony Oct. 28 before the Land Board, in turn, brought Nahale’s boss, DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood, into the controversy. Underwood filed an ethics complaint with the Hawaii County Board of Ethics against Roth, saying he misused his government position by testifying in support of a private interest.

The Board of Ethics last month cleared Roth of wrongdoing, saying he was within his rights to testify about his perceptions of corruption. Roth paid his own way and took leave from his government job for the meeting and didn’t take compensation for his actions. Still, the county ethics board said, the county charter gives him the power to appear before government boards and agencies in his official capacity as well.

The board is scheduled to finalize its findings at a meeting Wednesday in Hilo.

Roth said Thursday he’s following the ongoing issues closely, although he’s turned his case over to the state attorney general. He called the latest revelations “the tip of the iceberg.”

“It seems that the (state) ethics commission found that there is corruption; the question is, how deep does it go,” Roth said. “I have been told there’s an ongoing investigation, so I can’t comment too much on it.”

A spokesman for Attorney General Doug Chin said Thursday he also couldn’t comment….

Related: Ethics: DLNR Harbor Agent Grabs for Payoff Beyond $200 Allowed Under Law

read … Freebie parasail rides net harbor agent ethics fine

Honolulu mayors’ policies on rail is lesson from ‘fait accompli’ school of politics

Borreca: …This is what former Mayor Mufi Hannemann was doing when he said the estimates for building a 20-mile rail line was just $3.8 billion, so when the price started to rise, we would be stuck because so much money had already been spent. And Hannemann was thinking “done deal” when everyone bought into the plan to start in Kapolei and not in town, so that with half of the rail already built but nowhere close to being on budget, how can you just stop? Fait accompli that, baby.

So how done is the deal now that $3.8 billion is a mere 38 percent of the new $10 billion estimate? And how done is the deal when the federal government wants to know by April 30 how the city is going to pay for the rail, or the feds take back their subsidy?

So far, all the Legislature, in the form of the state Senate, is offering to remove is the so-called state general excise tax skim from the extra rail taxes that Oahu consumers must pay. It amounts to about $300 million over the next decade.

The bill, Senate Bill 1183, now goes to the House and a mostly-unamused Rep. Sylvia Luke, the Finance Committee chairwoman….

“The disappointment for me is the explanations they have given for every big cost overrun,” Luke said.

“The Pearl Highland park and ride structure for the rail cost estimate was $155 million but including design $200 million; two years later the estimate is $300 million. For something like that they should have a clear explanation,” she said. “What they are essentially telling me is that two years ago we underestimated it and our calculations were wrong, but believe me, it is correct now.

“I have a fundamental problem with that.”….

If there is any sort of legislative decision in the offing, Luke is not telling. Asked about the feds’ April 30 deadline, Luke said the deadline is between the city and the federal government and they are going to have to figure that out. Meanwhile, she said, “I continue to be troubled by these big ticket markups.”

read … Honolulu mayors’ policies on rail is lesson from ‘fait accompli’ school of politics

Politics still at the heart of education reinvention

Shapiro: …We’ve only exchanged the old school board’s petty politics of indecision and infighting for the grand politics of reinventing education with every new state administration.

Same result either way: Struggling schools struggle on because we never settle on a sound reform plan and give it a fair chance to work.

Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed a distinguished board in 2011 that included four CEOs — Don Horner of First Hawaiian Bank, Wesley Lo of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui of the Oahu YWCA and Jim Williams of the Hawaii Employer-Union Benefits Trust Fund.

They inherited Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi from the old board, but worked harmoniously with her to enact a strategic plan that emphasized getting the Three R’s right, fixing underperforming schools, improving curriculum and demanding accountability from teachers, principals and administrators alike.

Teachers fought linking pay to performance and principals bristled at the greater scrutiny; retired Moanalua High Principal Darrel Galera became the voice of the disgruntled and called for Matayoshi’s removal.

The teachers’ union and Galera went full-on political, backing David Ige in his upset of Abercrombie in 2014, and just like that we had education reinvention 2.0.

Ige began replacing Abercrombie’s BOE appointees with his cohorts and circumvented Matayoshi by naming a task force headed by Galera to write a new “blueprint” for public schools.

Ige’s wife, Dawn, a former vice principal who worked with Galera at Moanalua, has been deeply involved; BOE Chairman Lance Mizumoto acknowledged it was the first lady and not the governor who broached the subject of him joining the board…..

read … Politics

Kealoha Dreams of Donald Trump

HNN: Florence Nakakuni was appointed in September 2009. She has worked in the Hawaii U.S. Attorney's office since 1985. (Translation: Reliable insider.)

"Right now, we have a federal investigation through our local U.S. Attorney's office of our local police department. So it's a very powerful office. It's a very important office. But it's also a political office," said local attorney Victor Bakke.

Bakke also said that technically, a new appointee could affect the federal conspiracy investigation that has ensnared former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his prosecutor wife, Katherine.

"It absolutely could," he said. "As soon as a new attorney general comes into the District of California, the Southern District of California, or the District of Hawaii, any one of them could just cut it off."

read … Prosecutor

SB1240/HB1457 Anti-Aquarium Hysteria on the Move

SA: …Two bills moving in the Legislature, House Bill 1457 and Senate Bill 1240, may address longstanding concerns hallucinations about the impacts of commercial aquarium trade on Hawaii reef health and wildlife. Many people testifying asked the state to make existing permits non-transferable and stop issuing new ones….

read … SB1240/HB1457 More Anti-Aquarium Hysteria

SB1109: Anti-Styrofoam Hysteria Gets Sidelined Again

SA: …Senate Bill 1109 would have prohibited the use of polystyrene foam products by food vendors starting in January 2020. The material is commonly used for coffee cups and takeout containers….

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, said the foam ban received the second highest number of public testimony submissions out of the 91 bills that came before his committee. The first was a pesticide buffer bill (SB 29) with roughly 700 testimonies.  (And that hysteria was defeated as well.)….

Both failed to cross over to the House, despite their popularity with the public. 

(Q: Why oh why did we ever close the lunatic asylums?)

Sen. Roz Baker (D, South Maui-West Maui), chairwoman of the Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee, said Tuesday, “Public comment is always taken into account,” but she decided not to move forward with the bill based on the information provided in the state Department of Health’s testimony.

(Anti-GMO whack jobs will be targeting Baker in the Dem Primary in 2018.)

The Department of Health, which would be responsible for establishing rules tied to the ban, recommended putting off the state legislation to allow counties the opportunity to decide whether to implement their own bans.

“This issue should be the province of the individual counties to include different definitions, parameters and prohibitions as each county sees fit to adopt,” Baker said….

On Oahu, a study conducted by the city’s Department of Environmental Services found that most of the cities that now have foam bans do not have waste-to-energy, relying on recycling and composting to divert waste from landfills….

read … Senators shelve foam ban proposal

Environmental health risks to keiki discussed at state symposium

KHON: Childhood obesity (real), lead exposure in children (real), and exposure to chemicals in pesticides (fake) were all hot topics at the event….

read … Environmental health risks to keiki discussed at state symposium

Will Waianae Finally Get its Bypass Road?

Cataluna: …One lady tells me that when she goes to Vegas, they leave their house in Waianae at 5 in the morning to be sure they make it to the airport in time for a 2 p.m. flight. Once they get into town, they kill time in a restaurant until it’s time to check in. She doesn’t want to chance getting stuck in some horrific snarl that will make her miss her flight and then have to eat the cost of the ticket.

Another tells me that traveling the 2-mile corridor of Farrington Highway in Waianae can take two hours because of an accident. Someone else says often there is no accident or stall to blame. It’s just bad.

Rep. Andria Tupola tells the story of a Saturday morning traffic stall last year caused by unannounced roadside brush clearing. The traffic was stuck for three hours. “People missed their flights, their appointments, and one guy missed his own wedding!” she said. Tupola started a Facebook group, Westside Traffic Alert, where people can update their fellow travelers in real time. There are no traffic cameras in the area, so residents have to rely on each other for traffic reports.

None of this would be alleviated by rail. If traffic is stopped down on Farrington Highway in Waianae, none of those people can even get to the train.

There are plans in play to alleviate the problems. A comprehensive approach requires cooperation from the Army, Navy, state agencies and city departments. A community meeting is being held Monday night to update residents on the efforts. In attendance will be Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa- Waianae-Makaha), Rep. Cedric Gates (D, Waianae-Makaha-Makua), Councilmember Kymberly Pine and Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili).

read … Bypass?

Quick and Cheap Anti-Missile System Can Protect Hawaii

WT: …Near term threats, such as the North Korea’s intercontinental ambitions, won’t be ignored but how will they be countermanded? Based on my 14 years of experience as a member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee (HAC-D), I know time is of the essence in protecting Hawaii from Pyongyang. Congress and the new administration need to ensure Hawaii has sophisticated radar and missile capability at the ready.

In my time on HAC-D, I also learned the Pentagon likes to plan, budget, manage and test new and shiny systems — no matter how imminent the threat. The problem with new and shiny is always cost and schedule and the romance of new and shiny defense systems too often overlooks the rougher real time solutions.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is considering development of the Homeland Discrimination Radar — Hawaii (HDR-HI) — in response to the North Korean threat. While radar detection is critical, when and how a HDR-HI system would be operational isn’t obvious and neither is the cost and rarely does system development come in on time or on budget. The good news for Hawaii and for taxpayers is there are alternative systems to protect our assets in Hawaii that are cost effective, proven and quickly available.

When it comes to portable radar, discrimination and ballistic missile capability, the Pentagon already has the Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2) and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system that’s being used in Turkey, Guam and South Korea. These capabilities could be easily deployed to Hawaii and made operational for a fraction of developing a new radar.

The Pentagon also has the Pacific Missile Range Facility, which is a test facility in Kauai that houses an Aegis Ashore system equipped with Stand Missile 3’s (SM-3). The U.S. has operational Aegis Ashore’s in Poland and soon Romania. The test facility in Hawaii could go from experimental to operational quickly and cost-effectively….

read … Departure North Korea, destination Hawaii

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