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Thursday, October 25, 2018
October 25, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:01 PM :: 684 Views

Bishop Street Lawyer Foolishly Leaves Hawaii, Gets Busted

OHA Candidate Evicts Kauai Anti-Drug Program

Finalists named for UH Hilo chancellor

Rail Funding Solution--Raid Every Department

KITV: …The Federal Transit Administration is not budging on its deadline for the City and County of Honolulu to fund the rail project.  The FTA declared Wednesday that the City must come up with 44 million dollars by November 20th or risk losing some or all of its federal funding….

(Translation: Artificially created panic to induce politically desired result.)

According to City Council Chair Ernie Martin, legislation regarding the transfer of general funds will be introduced to help meet that deadline.

Essentially, it will allow the project to continue until full financing is approved. …

According to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the City will look at short term financing options that are legal, transparent, and pose no financial risk to the City.

The matter will be taken up at a Council meeting on October 30th. …

read … The Federal Transit Administration not budging on its deadline for the City to fund the rail project

Secret Rail draft plan reveals potential cost-cutting measures

SA: …The rail authority expects to collect $188 million more in taxes than previously projected to help finance the Honolulu rail project, but the city is still making plans to cut costs if necessary, including possibly deferring construction of the $315 million Pearl Highlands Parking Structure and Transit Center.

That’s according to a draft recovery plan for the troubled 20-mile Honolulu rail line obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The report lists an array of cost- cutting steps that could be taken if funding for the project again falls short.

Those could include eliminating lighting between stations along the 20-mile rail line, modifying sound barriers downtown and redesigning the overhead canopies that will provide shelter at the eight urban Honolulu rail stations, according to a draft plan….

“HART is currently evaluating how (the Pearl Highlands facility) could be addressed as an optional scope element in the P3 procurement,” according to the recovery plan.

Andrew Robbins, executive director of HART, said the rail authority has no intention of cutting that facility. “We understand the importance of it for Central Oahu, it’s extremely important for residents in Central Oahu to have that parking garage and that transit center,” he said.

However, the option of deferring the facility had to be included in the recovery plan as a fallback option to satisfy the FTA, he said.

The recovery plan lists other strategies that have already been taken by HART to reduce the cost of rail, including separating a contract for utility relocation work in the city center from the larger P3 construction contract. The draft plan indicates that repackaging of contracts saved the city $300 million, and claims another $177 million in savings through other steps.

However, most of those “risk reduction” steps that generated the $177 million in reported savings are not listed because they are confidential, according to the draft recovery plan.

The draft recovery plan also projects that use of the P3 approach to build the last segment of the rail line and operate the system for the next 30 years will save $50 million in construction costs, and another $310 million in operating costs during the life of the contract.

Other potential cost saving steps that could be adopted by the P3 contractor include using concrete sound barriers instead of acrylic sound barriers along the guideway, eliminating lighting between the stations, simplifying the overhead station canopies and using plain support columns rather than the decorated columns that have been used in other rail segments.

Those steps together could save $19 million, and the contractor could save another $20 million by reusing the current Leeward Oahu precast yard, where segments of the rail guideway are being fabricated, according to the report.

read … Rail draft plan reveals potential cost-cutting measures

HART’s P3 plans built on unbelievable ridership estimates

SA: Rail is a terrible candidate for public-private-partnership (P3) due to exaggerated ridership numbers and uncertainties of final construction costs. Official passenger projections are as unbelievable as the initial estimates of $3 billion for construction, which will likely spill well over $10 billion entering the most difficult downtown stretch.

The P3 contract would be partly based on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s estimates of future ridership, which is how the private operator would try to make a profit on their investment. They provide money for construction, operation and maintenance in return for collecting fares and added taxpayer funding.

HART estimates there will be 119,600 daily rail trips — but critics maintain that projection is grossly excessive, based on experiences elsewhere and low population densities along our line. For example, Puerto Rico estimated 110,000 daily riders in San Juan but is getting only 31,000. We are expecting more riders per mile than Chicago, Atlanta or San Francisco. Most urban transit systems have shown a recent decrease in riders….

read …  HART’s P3 plans built on unbelievable ridership estimates

Ratepayer Impacts Due to Hu Honua`s Unusual Financial Arrangement

IM: …Suppose your local gas station offered to sell you gasoline for your car at 20 cents per gallon, but imposed a fee of $3.00 per gallon to have to the gas station available 24/7 so you could get gas anytime you wanted, but after you put ten gallons of gasoline in your car, the $3.00 per gallon payment stopped so that each subsequent gallon only cost 20 cents. …

Hu Honua will sell electricity to HELCO at just over 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, will receive high capacity payments for having 21.5 MW available, but will be required to be able to supply up to 30 MW.

The Public Utilities Commission estimates that Hu Honua will sell an average of 200,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, and at that volume, the effective average price per kilowatt-hour will be 22.1 cents.

This will enable Hu Honua to note that their cost per kilowatt-hour, at 8 cents per kWh, is better than recent utility contracts for firm solar power (solar + storage) that are currently priced at 9-11 cents per kilowatt-hour, with a downward solar/battery trending price.

Hu Honua may be offline (zero MW/hour), online at a bare minimum (7 MW/hour), at a preferred minimum (10 MW/hour), or a maximum (30 MW/hour). Burning wood to generate electricity requires energy to run the plant, thus to produce 30 MW for sale they must generate 36 MW, and use 6 MW for internal (parasitic) loads.

To produce 200,000 MWh/year, Hu Honua must sell an average of 22.8 MW/hour. (22.8 x 365 days x 24/hours per day = 200,000 MWh)

The problem arose when Hu Honua sought to get permits from the Department of Health(DOH) for heat pollution into the ocean.

Hu Honua first informed DOH that they would produce 25 MW for 14 hours/day and 10 MW for 10 hours/day, for an average of  18.75 MW/hour….

Today the Hawai`i Supreme Court hears oral arguments in an appeal of the PUC decision brought by Life of the Land. Issues include climate change and costs.

The Department of Health will hold a public hearing on November 14, 2018, concerning Hu Honua`s request for a Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water permit to addresses water pollution by regulated point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States….

read … Ratepayer Impacts Due to Hu Honua`s Unusual Financial Arrangement

Ethics Complaint: Anti-GMO Councilmember Atay Used County Resources for Political Mailer

MN: … Mayor Alan Arakawa has filed two complaints with the county Board of Ethics against Council Member Alika Atay for listing his council office on a political ad and sending a mass email to county employees in what was “clearly a political attack.”

Staff of the state Campaign Spending Commission also plan to refer a separate complaint against Atay to the state attorney general’s office in the next couple weeks, which includes a fine of $2,700 for violating campaign spending laws.

The first ethics complaint cites a political ad for Atay published Sept. 30 in The Maui News’ county fair supplement. The ad, which reads “ALOHA VOTE ATAY” in large letters with a picture of him and a woman standing next to him, shows that it was paid for by Friends of Alika Atay and lists the county building address at 200 S. High St. in Wailuku.

“I believe this to be a use of county property for something other than public activity or purpose,” Arakawa wrote in his complaint, referring to County Charter article 10-4.

The other complaint stems from a mass email Atay sent from his council email address to county workers regarding a $100,000 grant awarded to his executive assistant….

Attached to the email is a three-page letter by Atay claiming wrongful termination of the grant, the county wrongfully withholding money and other issues. In the email, Atay writes, “As you are a county employee, I thought you should know the facts and the truth,” and he also posted the letter to his personal and campaign Facebook pages.

Atay complained that meetings held by the County Council Budget and Finance Committee on the grant coincided with the mailing of absentee ballots for the general election and occurred just before the primary election, which is “evidence of a well-planned and a coordinated strategy to discredit me and my staff and sway the upcoming election to maintain an old guard majority.”

He added that Bardellini has never broken a law, policy or “committed any actionable offense in my presence.”

(Weasel Words ‘in my presence’)

Arakawa said Wednesday that Atay’s actions were “breaches of law” and that his office is looking into how Atay was able to send the mass email to county workers. The mayor said even he does not have access to the county email system, which is a deliberate safeguard.

“They cannot be doing political positioning on the county website, and they shouldn’t even have access to all county employees’ emails,” Arakawa said….

In the campaign spending issue, Atay was fined by the commission in September for two counts of unauthorized handling of campaign funds and five counts of allegedly making false reports.

The commission found that Bardellini, who serves as chairman of the Friends of Alika Atay, wrote 14 checks totaling over $12,000 drawn from the campaign account, and Atay wrote two checks totaling close to $200 from the account. For the false reports, staff noticed inconsistencies between bank records and reports filed with the commission.

Commission Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao said Wednesday that Atay did not attend the meeting with the commission on Sept. 12, or pay his fine, which was due nearly a month ago.

“Alika has done nothing to comply with our order,” Izumi-Nitao said….

Related: Did Anti-GMO Activist Rip You Off?  Maui County Can Help

read … Mayor files ethics complaint against Council Member Atay

Election Takedown: Crabbe Operatives Line up to Testify Against Akana

SA: …OHA Corporation Counsel Ernest Kimoto told the commission that more than 20 complaints from different employees were filed with human resources, prompting the OHA brass to discuss the need to document the issue….

The 28-year trustee faces a fine of at least $50,000 after being accused of 50 counts of violating the Hawaii State Ethics Code, including infractions of the state’s Gifts Law, Gifts Reporting Law and Fair Treatment Law.

Akana is accused of improperly accepting thousands in dollars for legal fees and using her trustee allowance to buy home cable television services and an Apple iTunes gift card.

Kimoto, who retired at the end of 2016, said Akana’s combative behavior caused some OHA employees to suffer health problems and others to leave their jobs — although he did not name individuals.

When asked about his own clash with the trustee, Akana’s attorney, Stephen Tannenbaum, objected.

“This is not a lynch mob that should go after Trustee Akana for every and any potential complaint that was ever issued against her while she was a trustee,” he said….

Earlier in the day, former OHA Controller John Kim testified to aggressive behavior by Akana, and present and former employees on Monday described intimidation, harassment and retaliation….

HNN: OHA’s longest-running trustee faces ethics hearing 2 weeks before election

Really Obvious Question: What happens if Akana is Reelected Anyway?

read … Lawyer tells commission about many complaints over trustee

Emergency Help For Hawaii’s Mentally Ill Is A Revolving Door thanks to law preventing Forcible Treatment

CB: Hundreds of people taken by police to the hospital for psychiatric care go on to repeated hospitalizations or brushes with the law….

When police bring in people in crisis who pose a danger to themselves or others, but have not committed a crime, those people can’t be held against their will by doctors for more than 48 hours.

Often those interventions are inadequate.

New Honolulu Police Department data shows hundreds of patients go on to repeated hospitalizations and brushes with law enforcement, sometimes just days or weeks after their release back into the public.

It’s a knotty problem that’s overwhelming emergency rooms and raising questions about the state’s lack of mental health resources and the merits of protecting a person’s civil liberty to refuse psychiatric treatment — even when they’re too sick to recognize they are suffering from mental illness.

On Oahu, there are a growing number of emergencies in which police officers send a person with mental illness to a local hospital for psychiatric treatment, according to the report published this year by a collaboration of police and health care agencies….

These hospitalizations occur after a police officer consults with an on-call police psychologist. Often they happen against the patient’s will.

The report revealed that one-fifth of citizens who come into contact with a Honolulu police officer consulting with a psychologist go on to become involved in at least two, and as many as 20, additional police encounters.

More than 200 people who were assisted by a police officer working with a psychologist in the first half of 2017 were taken to the hospital against their will two or more times.

The report’s conclusion: people with the most severe cases of mental illness aren’t getting the help they need….

People who are hospitalized under an emergency psychiatric intervention commonly refuse further services when they are released.  Many are adamant in their refusal to accept help.

Each time a mental health intervention falls short, research shows the person becomes sicker, more difficult to treat and more likely to engage in serious criminal behavior.

The enduring challenge, according to Institute for Human Services Executive Director Connie Mitchell, is that it’s unlawful to treat someone with mental illness against their will for more than 48 hours. (This is the most important sentence in the entire article.) But in many cases, she said, it’s inhumane to allow someone to go without help when they aren’t well enough to know they need it.

“We can’t just say, ‘Well, they don’t want treatment, so that’s that,’” said Mitchell, who is also a psychiatric nurse. “But that’s what we’re saying and people are dying from it.”

In one dramatic example, a woman was struck and killed by a pickup truck in June while walking in the middle of the fast lane on Interstate H-2. Her death occurred less than two weeks after police hospitalized her against her will for wandering around naked and shouting about demons in the middle of a road racing with traffic….

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read … Emergency Help For Hawaii’s Mentally Ill Is Often A Revolving Door

Suicide Push Could Save State $16M/year

HTH: …Because only terminally ill patients with six months or less to live are eligible for medical aid in dying, their terminal disease is still officially recognized as their cause of death, Trad said, explaining that the patients only choose to die because of the disease that is guaranteed (Guaranteed? By who? Do they offer your  money back if you kill yourself unnecessarily?) to kill them eventually anyway….

The Our Care, Our Choice Act is modeled after a successful law in Oregon that legalized medical aid in dying 20 years ago — without any reported cases of abuse or coercion (Dead men tell no tales) — but is actually more stringent in ensuring eligibility requirements….

State Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, D-Puna, one of several lawmakers in attendance, said the state wants to ensure that Hawaii isn’t the first state to see a report of abuse or coercion in a medical aid in dying case…. (Keep your mouth shut and you will get grandpa's house)

Oregon, with a population of 4 million, sees roughly 2,000 prescriptions filled each year — which only about 65 percent of patients actually used, Trad said. Hawaii, with a much smaller population, might see a couple of hundred cases “if it’s a busy year,” Kim said.

HA: Last year of life medical care avg $80K in US.

(200 x $80K = $16M/year)

Trad said most private insurance providers can cover medical aid in dying, and added that there are two commonly used medications, one costing about $3,000 and the other costing $400. 

(ROI 20 fold or 200 fold. Profitable!)

read … Sales Pitch

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