Why We Need the FBI to Investigate OHA
Taxpayers and Ratepayers Forced to Fund HECO Flywheel Scheme
Community Well-Being: Honolulu Ranks 18th
Maui: Six Nominees for 2nd District Court Judge
Title IX Lawsuit? ACLU Says DoE Response 'Disappointing'
Students across Hawaii walk out of classrooms – But Some Shy Away from Gun Control Message
SA: Thousands of students at campuses across Hawaii walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. today in solidarity with their peers nationwide who are staging 17-minute walkouts as a tribute to the 17 victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla….
Hundreds of Punahou School students chanted “No more silence, end the violence” this morning at the school’s Academy Quad….
Hawaii schools with walkouts planned included Farrington, Kaiser High, Mililani High, Moanalua High, Kapolei High, Campbell High, Le Jardin Academy, St. Andrew’s Schools, St. Francis School and University Laboratory School as well as schools on Maui and Hawaii Island.
At Farrington, student body president Franchesca Amor Aguilar said, “We were actually devastated because these students were the same age as us.” Commenting on Tuesday as she prepared for the walkout, she added, “Knowing that it could happen to anybody, especially our own high school, we wanted to do something about it.”…
Farrington’s mascot is the Governors, and students planning their walkout at first chose the hashtag #GovsAgainstGuns as their motto. But after more research and talking it over, they shifted to a broader, more inclusive message: #Govs4SafeSchools….
During Mid-Pacific Institute’s walkout, 17 students planned to sprawl on the ground on the hillside near the Atherton Building for 17 minutes while organizers make short speeches.
At Kaiser High, students held a rally in the stadium. In a letter to parents, Principal Justin Mew said their focus is on standing in solidarity with the survivors and the nationwide Never Again movement, educating students about the issue and encouraging their peers to register to vote….
read … Students across Hawaii walk out of classrooms as part of nationwide protest
State releases heavily redacted recording of HI-EMA's missile mistake test
HNN: …The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday released a heavily redacted portion of the 24-second internal test message that triggered the state's missile alert mistake on January 13, 2018.
Hawaii News Now requested audio of the message shortly after the event. State officials had previously said they were reviewing records laws and the audio file itself to determine whether it could be released under Hawaii's open records law.
The recording of the message that was released Wednesday includes only three audible sections – a total of 11 words. The rest of the message was blocked out by a high-pitched sound that makes any other words inaudible.
The nature of the message was key to investigating the false alert because the warning officer who heard the message when it was played in the Emergency Management Center claimed he did not hear the voice at the beginning and end of the message that said "Exercise, Exercise. Exercise."
The recording released Wednesday includes those words, along with the phrase "this is not a drill" about nine seconds into the message. The word "exercise" is also repeated three times at the end of the recording…..
read … Redacted
New Revenue Forecast Means $50 Million More For State Budget
CB: State tax collections are expected to come in about $50 million higher than previously forecast for this fiscal year, giving legislators a little more room to work with as they craft the overall budget in the coming weeks.
The state Council on Revenues, an appointed panel of tax professionals, business leaders and economists, upgraded its quarterly forecast Tuesday to 5.3 percent general fund growth for fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30.
That was a cautious increase, given strong revenue collections the past eight months. But the council members said it was a number they could all agree on….
read … New Revenue Forecast Means $50 Million More For State Budget
House to Amend SB648 -- increase counties’ share of hotel tax
MN: …The House Finance Committee will hear a bill Thursday to increase Maui County’s share of transient accommodations tax revenue from $23.5 million to $38.3 million, according to an announcement from Central Maui Rep. Justin Woodson.
Senate Bill 648 is scheduled for a hearing at 2 p.m. in House conference Room 308.
Woodson said the measure includes a House amendment to increase the Neighbor Islands’ share of what’s also known as the hotel room tax.….
The House version of the Senate bill would add another $14.82 million to Maui County’s share.
Hawaii County would get another $12 million, and Kauai County would receive another $9.4 million.
The Senate bill is a departure from House Bill 1665, which began as a proposal from the Hawaii Council of Mayors to restore the counties’ allocation of hotel room tax to 45 percent of the total income.
A revised bill that came through House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke’s committee would require the counties to request reimbursements for various expenses and justify each request in order to receive any share of transient accommodations tax revenue.
While the revised measure was in Luke’s committee, the counties’ mayors came out strongly against it....
HNN: Neighbor Islands poised to get bigger slice of hotel room tax pie
read … Bill to increase counties’ share of hotel tax gets hearing
Sex discrimination, rail funding issues said to be reasons for city council leadership shakeup
HNN: …Councilwoman Kymberly Pine is accusing the current leadership team -- led by Chair Ron Menor -- of treating her unfairly because she's a woman.
Pine would not go into detail about what happened to her, only calling the situation a "very emotional experience." (No details. But that won’t stop anybody from forming conclusions.)
She made her frustrations known at Tuesday's signing for Bill 110, also known as the Monster Homes bill. …
Pine says she believes Councilmen Ernie Martin and Trevor Ozawa will be much more fair to their women colleagues.
"They are fully committed to ensuring that the women of the Honolulu City Council are recognized, not taking credit for by other leaders, and actually are celebrated as full equal partners of the Honolulu City Council," said Pine.
That statement surprised Council Chair Ron Menor, who says Pine has never brought up the issue with him.
"Under my leadership, we've tried to be very open and transparent and very accommodating to addressing various viewpoints, and ultimately we're here to do the people's business," said Menor.
Councilman Martin, who's set to reclaim the chairmanship, says another reason behind the reorganization push is concerns with rail funding.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's budget calls for borrowing $44-million for rail operations.
"I think it made our members very uncomfortable. And I think the fact that two of our members went forward and submitted a letter in support of that particular use without consulting the membership as a whole is a reason why the change of leadership has to occur," said Martin.
A vote on the leadership change is expected next week….
read … Sex discrimination, rail funding issues said to be reasons for city council leadership shakeup
Doctor Shopping for Suicide Pills
SA: …HB 2739, H.D. 1 is also flawed because although safeguards are placed on the front end to ensure a patient’s request for lethal drugs is made on his or her own volition, there are no safeguards in place after a patient has obtained that prescription. Patients waive their rights at that point, and the lethal drugs could very well be ingested against his or her will.
Safeguards raised in the 2017 session also remain unresolved in this current bill: physician education. Requiring patients to make a request for the lethal drugs to their attending provider and then to a consulting provider 20 days later as a “safeguard” is irresponsible. A number of respected physicians testified last year that many in the physician community are ill-equipped for assessing a patient’s palliative care needs. This very real concern of Hawaii’s board-certified, licensed and practicing physicians have been ignored.
The current physician-assisted suicide bill is partially modeled after California’s End of Life Option Act. Despite having its physician-assisted suicide law in effect for more than a year, California continues to struggle with identifying providers who are willing to prescribe dosages of lethal drugs or validate the need for physician- assisted suicide.
When physicians refuse, California patients are forced to find a doctor who is willing to be their attending provider and may not fully understand their health history, prognosis, ensure they are acting voluntarily and not being coerced into the decision. Doctor-shopping is most certainly not a safeguard….
read … Doctor Shopping
A serious need for addiction treatment on Kauai
SA: …With addiction to prescription painkillers on the rise in Hawaii, state lawmakers have responded with legislation that requires patient counseling on the risks of opioid medications, and limits prescriptions. But because pills are now harder to get, some addicts are turning to dicey street drugs, like black tar heroin. That’s the worrisome assessment on Kauai, where police seized 526 grams last year — up from less than 1 gram in 2015.
The Garden Isle’s first on-island treatment facility is slated to open this year. Here’s hoping it helps halt addiction, which can start — unless carefully watched — with even a basic prescription for an injury….
Flashback: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility
read … Kauai
Ige Meets Meth Addicts, Promises not to Sweep Camp
CB: Leaders of the Waianae Boat Harbor homeless encampment known as Puuhonua O Waianae say that Gov. David Ige met with them Tuesday and pledged that there will be no sweep of the camp.
“They are going to work together with us to see if we can find another property and just go from there,” said James Pakele, a Waianae resident and Puuhonua O Waianae volunteer who was at the meeting.
Pakele said the meeting took place in Nanakuli at the home of Hawaiian surfing legend and original Hokulea crew member Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana….
read … Tweekers can keep on Tweeking Together
YCF Comes up with Last-Minute Scheme to Save their Make-Work Positions
KITV: …A sharp decrease in residents at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility has left some buildings vacant for the past year.
Others have sat unused for more than a decade, but the buildings could soon start filling up with other at-risk youth.
Plans are underway to expand prevention programs, in the hopes more troubled teens will be kept out of the system….
read … Trying to Save their useless positions
Lawmakers take up proposal to put UH tuition hikes on ice
HNN: …Senate Bill 2329 was heard by the House Higher Education Committee Tuesday…..
read … Lawmakers take up proposal to put UH tuition hikes on ice
Skeptical About Kihei HS Construction
MN: …A gathering of residents at a meeting at Kihei Elementary School were told by lead architect Charles Kaneshiro that the new high school will be built in phases. Currently, plans are that the school also will be occupied in phases, with freshmen only — or, perhaps, freshmen and sophomores — attending the first year the school is open.
Infrastructure construction — pipes, roads and grading — will begin this summer. The group was told this would take about a year-and-a-half.
The story in The Maui News said phase two will see the building of at least one classroom structure, an administration building, a joint library and cafeteria, a physical education room, parking lots, a clay court and a temporary playing field. The crowd Thursday night was told legislators have secured $101 million to pay for phase two.
Here is where we began to have our doubts. Total capacity for the high school when it is built out is expected to be 1,650 students, with each classroom building housing some 400 students.
Since phase two will only build “at least one” classroom building, what assurances are there that funding will come for the third and fourth classroom buildings that are needed for the full build-out of the school? After all, it has taken decades to secure the funding that will take us through phase two.
How can we be certain that the project will not be stalled and the full build-out take many years?
We were also not assured when Kaneshiro told the gathering that, “This has already gone faster than some of my other projects, I’ll tell you that.”
Hmm . . . now there’s a scary thought.
read … Skeptical
SA: U.S. tax cuts might benefit both poor and rich of Hawaii
Deedy’s request to delay third trial is denied
SA: …State Circuit Judge Todd Eddins says U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy’s third trial for a fatal shooting in a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant will go on as scheduled.
“Until and unless the United States District Court issues an injunction staying these proceedings, the case will proceed,” Eddins said Tuesday….
Thomas Otake, Deedy’s lawyer, had asked Eddins to put the trial on hold as he appealed the case to the federal courts.
“The delay will be a small price to pay to ensure fairness and to truly see if the federal courts believe he should and could be tried a third time,” Otake said….
Big Q: Should federal agent Christopher Deedy be tried for a third time, for fatally shooting Kollin Elderts in 2011? (75% – NO)
read … Lynch Mob