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Friday, August 31, 2018
August 31, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:14 PM :: 869 Views

DoE: 87% of Student Enrollment Growth Comes at Charter Schools

State Visitor Count Up 5.2% for July--Big Island Down 12.7%

Former Maui Police Department Officer Sentenced For Stealing Money And Conspiring To Bribe Witness

Governor Ige’s Private School Hypocrisy

Legislators: Big Island Should Get $22M, Maybe $10M -- not $800M 

HTH: … Mayor Harry Kim and aides including Roy Takemoto, an executive assistant, and Diane Ley, the county’s Research and Development director, met Thursday with members of the Big Island state legislative delegation — Sen. Russell Ruderman and Rep. Joy San Buenaventura of Puna, the district hardest hit, plus Sen. Kai Kahele of Hilo, Rep. Richard Creagan, who represents Ka‘u and portions of Kona, and Rep. Nicole Lowen of Kona.

Ruderman said the meeting with county officials was in preparation for another meeting today between county officials and Senate leadership.

“They were kind of getting local feedback on how to present the county ask to leadership,” he said. “That $800 million came as part of what is needed in the long term to recover. (It’s) what is needed over the course of years, and it is mostly federal money. So I don’t want to paint that figure as an ask for the state.”

Ruderman described Thursday’s meeting as a “work in progress,” while San Buenaventura cautioned it was “very preliminary.” Both added that today’s meeting originally was intended to be with leaders from both legislative chambers.

“I know the House leadership is not going to be a part of it, because the impression is that the county is not ready with a full assessment,” San Buenaventura said. “The request has been made that if we’re going to do a … financial damage request for the Big Island, then it should also cover the flood damage (from rain associated with Hurricane Lane). Because the House leadership is not inclined to have two special sessions.”

Tom Travis, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said Wednesday he hopes to have statewide preliminary figures on flood damage from the storm that can be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency by Monday.

San Buenaventura called the $800 million figure “a needs assessment, not a legislative” request. Of the $55 million figure for immediate needs, San Buenaventura said she thinks $23 million of it has been funded.

“So we’re down to, like, $22 million,” she added. “And one of the things I’m not sure about is if any of that $22 million includes the $12 million that the governor had already approved. They need to fill in those blanks, because although there is this huge $800 million need for the Big Island, the rest of the state has needs, too, and we need to be able to inform the rest of the state about the needs that we have. We see it every day, but the rest of the state doesn’t see it every day. And we need their support to help fund our request.”

In the Thursday morning briefing at county Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo, Kim said planners and officials need to make better decisions in the future “to keep others out of harm’s way.” The mayor noted that the island’s lava zones, which go from Zone 1, the highest risk, to Zone 9, the least, are “based on the degree of threat” of lava inundation.

“We already knew what area was Zone 1 and 2,” Kim said. “Even after that, we built new schools in Zones 1 and 2. Even after that, we allowed certain kinds of buildings to proceed in Zones 1 and 2. Even after that, we spent taxpayers’ money on purchasing things to build in Zones 1 and 2. We should not, obviously, have done that. I think … it is a denial of reality, of what scientists have been trying to tell us.” ….

read … Go Back to the Mainland Punatics

Committee OKs bills to Force homeless to Accept Shelter

SA: A City Council committee Thursday approved two bills that would make it illegal for people to obstruct or lodge on city sidewalks.

The bills, both sponsored by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, now move on to the full Council for the second of three readings.

>> Bill 51 makes it illegal for anyone to obstruct or impede a sidewalk in a way that impedes the free flow of traffic anywhere on Oahu between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. It would also apply to those seeking to use city sidewalks for commercial purposes without permission.

>> Bill 52 makes it illegal to lodge, or “to occupy a place temporarily; to sleep; to come to rest and refuse to vacate” sidewalks or other public places. It also makes it incumbent on the person issuing the citation to verify there is shelter space within a reasonable distance and to offer to take the person being cited to the shelter. The person to be cited also must refuse to vacate the area.

But even if the bills receive final approval in the coming months, it could be a while before they go into effect. Carol Fukunaga, chairwoman of the Council’s Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustain­- ability Committee, inserted a clause into both bills to require that before enforcement can begin the administration must first submit, to the Council, an action plan to combat homelessness in each of the nine Council districts, and have the plan approved.

She pointed out that the Council had already adopted Resolution 18-158 earlier this month, requesting that the Caldwell administration submit such a report within the next two months.….

read … Force Them to Accept Shelter

Council Votes to tear Down Affordable Housing ‘Monsters’ –May Become Retroactive

SA: …Receiving the committee’s support were

>> Bill 53, introduced by Zoning Chairwoman Kymberly Pine, which dramatically hikes fines against those who build without the necessary permits. Currently, a party slapped with a Notice of Order for violating any part of the code pays a flat $2,000, plus $2,000 a day for each day the violation exists. Under this bill, those who build without a permit and are ordered to suspend work would pay an initial civil fine that is 10 times the amount of a building permit fee or $10,000, whichever is greater, and then an additional 10 times the amount of a building permit fee or $10,000, whichever is greater, for each day the violation persists. Violators also would be required to demolish the building, or the portion of the building, in violation, and the civil fines could not be reduced or waived by city officials.

>> Bill 60, introduced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin, makes it a misdemeanor — a criminal offense — to violate a stop-work order, subject to a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a maximum of a year in jail….

The committee chose to postpone a vote on Bill 50, which sought to bring additional penalties on those not in compliance with Council Bill 110 (2017), the temporary moratorium the Council placed on new large-scale houses in residential zones. That bill was designed to give DPP time to come up with permanent rules pertaining to large-scale houses.

The bill also would have applied the regulations set down in the moratorium retroactively to building permits issued after Jan. 1, 2016. The proposal, introduced by Martin, was deferred for a month to evaluate concerns raised by DPP officials about the retroactive clause, and to provide time for DPP to estimate how many permits would be affected retroactively if the bill were to pass….

SA: Editorial Get tougher on monster houses

read … Committee advances 2 bills targeting building violations

Suit: Public schools 'deliberately' indifferent to bullying victims

HNN: … The allegations include a Mililani Middle School student who says she endured racial taunts and a videotaped beating, and a student at Wailuku Elementary who says her complaints of sexual harassment and threats by another student were ignored.

The third student, at Castle High School, says she was assaulted despite warning school officials that another student was planning to beat her up.

The lawsuit points out that the federal Office of Civil Rights found the department was not complying with federal laws meant to protect students from discrimination, harassment and violence.

Federal investigators also found that nearly 1 in 3 Hawaii public school students said they've been victims of bullying or harassment….

The lawsuit was filed by Civil Rights Attorney Eric Seitz, who says he is seeking to form a class action so that other families whose children suffered bullying at school can join the lawsuit.

He said that could make the lawsuit even larger than a case brought in the 1980s, which found the department failed to provide adequate services for children with special needs and resulted in the so-called Felix Consent Decree. …

read … Suit: Public schools 'deliberately' indifferent to bullying victims

After Decade of Inaction, Hawaii Thinks About Turning To Military In Search For More Teachers

CB: …The federal program that facilitated her quick transition is called Troops to Teachers. Now, the Hawaii Department of Education has received a $600,000 federal grant to help it find more teachers like Dufault over the next five years.

The program, established in 1993, helps place transitioning service members into K-12 teaching positions around the country. It also helps with financial assistance to help them meet state teacher licensing requirements and offers incentive pay to teach in hard-to-staff areas.

The program helped bring Dufault to Hawaii, but in the last decade the state DOE hasn’t had a dedicated military recruiter to reach out to service members.

That will soon change.

DOE will use its Troops to Teachers grant to establish a full-time position to recruit military veterans. The goal is to get 100 possible candidates referred to the program. “We anticipate that perhaps only 40 to 50 percent will actually enroll in a teacher ed program, complete it and then get hired,” said DOE communications director Lindsay Chambers….

read … Hawaii Turns To Military In Search For More Teachers

Rape Hysteria Finally Gets Results at UH Manoa—One Student Raped Four Times

CB: The number of reported rapes at the University of Hawaii’s flagship campus quadrupled between 2015 and 2016, according to the latest data that the university reported in accordance with a federal mandate.

There were three rapes at the Manoa campus in 2015 compared to 13 in 2016, according to data published last October. Eleven of the 13 reported rapes allegedly took place in student housing facilities. At least four of the incidents were filed by the same person….

(Really Obvious Question: Did anybody call HPD?)

University of Hawaii officials said the increase in reports wasn’t surprising because of new federal policies and heightened awareness (hysteria).

He said the university plans to stay the course despite the potential for new federal policies by the Trump administration that would give more rights to students accused of misconduct….

More Reality Than Most Can Handle: University Snoops in Rape Victims' Medical Files to Save Money on Litigation--Legally

read … University of Hawaii officials said the increase in reports wasn’t surprising because of new federal policies

Rate Hike Coming: Will Hawaii Legislators Make Health Insurance Pay for “Medical’ Marijuana?

PBN: What kind of legislation do you think will have the biggest impact on employers over the next year?

For Hawaii, the biggest issue is medical marijuana and its impact on employers as well as the insurance industry. The first issue is the topic of job protection for medical marijuana cardholders and more specifically, whether or not somebody can become immune from disciplinary actions because they have a medical marijuana card. There are a bunch of states across the country who are addressing this issue. Hawaii has kind of scratched the surface of the issue for the past couple of years, but it seems like now, because it is such a hot topic, they are going to address it with more gusto in the upcoming legislative session. The other issue is whether or not insurance companies should cover the cost of medical marijuana for medical marijuana cardholders. The issue is not whether insurance companies can be required to pay directly for the cost of medical marijuana, because there already is a statute where it is prohibited, but the question is, can they be required to reimburse the patient for the cost of medical marijuana? That would fall under either Hawaii’s workers comp law, the Prepaid Health Care Act or any other law where that might be applicable. … There are currently two working groups in place right now, organized by the Department of Health that involve law makers, agency heads and stakeholders from the community that are basically addressing these two different issues.

read … Free Weed on Demand

Common Story: ‘Successful’ Criminal Makes Most of ‘Second Chance’ from Hawaii Judge, Allegedly Beats Man to Death

HNN: …A convicted felon arrested in connection with the deadly assault of a homeless man near an Ala Moana area bus stop this week was once praised by a judge as a "rare success story."  (It must have been the neck tattoos.)

Chu Lun Aiona, 39, was arrested Wednesday …

Just last year, Aiona earned early release from probation for good behavior.

His attorney told a Big Island judge that his client had turned his life around after moving to Oahu, had a job and planned to move to Seattle….  (If only….)

read … Suspect arrested in deadly Ala Moana assault once called 'rare success story'

Renewables?  HECO Only 6.8% Ahead of US Average

PBN: Renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 20 percent of net domestic power generation during the first half of 2018, according to data compiled by Sun Day Campaign.

Recently released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that renewables accounted for 19.867 percent of the nation's electrical generation during the first six months of the year, narrowly edging out nuclear power, which was responsible for 19.863 percent.

Wind and solar combined accounted for about a tenth of all energy generation in the country over the first half of the year, with wind accounting for 7.5 percent and solar for 2.4 percent of national power generation….

Solar generation alone surpassed that of biomass (1.6 percent) and geothermal (0.4 percent) combined over the same time period.

In Hawaii, Honolulu-based utility Hawaiian Electric achieved a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 26.8 percent across its service territory last year.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative reported an RPS figure of 44.36 percent for 2017. The Garden Isle is the only island not serviced by Hawaiian Electric.

read … Renewables account for nearly 20% of nation's power generation

More Taxpayer Money Flows to Crony Capitalist ‘Pacific Biodiesel’

BD: …Pacific Biodiesel has received grant funding from the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. to help reimburse recent facility upgrades and equipment purchases at its 5.5 MMgy biodiesel plant on the big island of Hawaii and waste oil collection center on Oahu.

HTDC’s Manufacturing Assistance Program grant provides up to 20 percent reimbursement on qualified expenses. Pacific Biodiesel received reimbursement for expenses related to facility upgrades, including wastewater pretreatment equipment and a centrifuge system to increase the recovery of yellow and brown greases from trap waste at the company’s Oahu facility. Upgrades at the biodiesel production facility on Hawaii Island included construction of a new shipping and receiving loading bay, ISO container loading platform, a pretreatment filtration trough system and three new reactors for more efficient production and storage capabilities.

“This grant is a great help as it allows us to invest in new equipment to make our fuel production and oil collection more efficient,” said Jenna Long, Pacific Biodiesel operations director.

Of the 29 Hawaii-based manufacturing companies awarded funding, only six—including Pacific Biodiesel—were repeat recipients of the MAP grant funds….

read … Crony

Public Meeting:  New Plan to Eliminate Lanes, Jam Up Downtown Traffic Even More

KHON: …The plan is to add a two-way protected bike lane on Bishop Street between Beretania Street and Nimitz Highway, plus a bike lane along Punchbowl Street, and extend the two-way protected King Street bike lane from Alapai to Bishop streets….

Background:

read … City outlines plans for more bike lanes in downtown Honolulu

Honolulu could be leader in taxi deregulation

TH:  …Honolulu has a chance to lead the way in the nationwide battle between municipalities, taxis and ride-hailing services. But will the city move toward a free market or greater government control?….

Related: Uber Caldwell: Level the Playing Field for Everybody Except HandiVan

read … Honolulu could be leader in taxi deregulation

Federal government taking a new approach to disaster recovery

KITV: …Say goodbye to handouts, the federal government is taking a new approach to disaster recovery.

It wants to help residents help themselves.

"We have to stop looking at citizens as survivors only and how do we tap into citizens as being part of the solution going forward as well," Brock Long, FEMA administrator said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing the way it approaches future natural disasters.

FEMA has updated its response plans following Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico.

When it found out Hurricane Lane was headed for Hawaii, it sent more than 2,900 responders to the state and while supplies came along with them, they weren't the focus.

"What we did coming into Hawaii was right off the bat instead of saying how much food and water can FEMA bring in, let's assess where the wholesale grocers are right now versus where they want to be," Long said.

FEMA wants to keep stores open. The agency studied how it could keep private businesses in business to give residents a way to get the goods they need….

KHON: Homeland Security Secretary in Hawaii for briefings on recovery efforts

read … Federal government taking a new approach to disaster recovery

State investigating "price gouging" complaints

KITV:   …Price gouging during the hurricane warning.

About 30 people from Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai filed complaints with the state that they paid too much.

The state says the complaints were mostly about water, but also include batteries, generators and fuel.

It's looking into each one, and warns that the fines are stiff. If the state finds a store violated "deceptive trade practices," it could be fined $500 to $10,000 per transaction….

read … State investigating "price gouging" complaints

Trump, Congress to Give Federal Workers 1.9% Pay Hike?

Under the law, the 2.1 percent raise takes effect automatically unless the president and Congress act to change it. Congress is currently debating a proposal for a slightly lower, 1.9 percent across-the-board raise to be included in a funding bill that would require Trump’s signature to keep most government functions operating past September.

Unions representing the 2 million-member federal workforce urged Congress to pass the 1.9 percent pay raise….

read … An Article Titled: "Trump cancels pay raise due to federal workers in January"

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