OHA's $139 Million Dollar Question
OHA Trustees Vote 8-1 to Extend Audit
Hawaii Swamped by Carbon Dioxide Tax Bills
HB217/HB218: Making Life Easier for Young Criminals
Gabbard: US Health Care System Designed to 'keep people sick and on drugs'
It’s April and Feds Still Aren’t Releasing $744 Million For Honolulu Rail
CB: … When word of the Honolulu rail project’s federal grand jury subpoenas surfaced, the project’s executive director estimated his agency’s recovery plan would still be approved by April, allowing federal dollars to start flowing again.
No precise timetable was given, but “the objective is … an approval I would hope by April,” Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Andrew Robbins said during a Feb. 15 press briefing.
Almost halfway through April, however, there’s still no such approval from the Federal Transit Administration. There’s also none expected through the end of the month.
Now, Robbins and HART officials say they expect rail’s federal partners to provide a “provisional” approval by the end of May or early June instead. This would likely be some sort of nod from the FTA that it intends to fully approve the plan later, Robbins said Tuesday.
At stake is $744 million in federal funding….
The FTA’s Wednesday statement further read that it “will approve the Recovery Plan after HART makes the required updates to its financial plan.” The most recent version that HART submitted, in November, included cost and revenue updates that the agency hoped would address the FTA’s concerns….
HART is now on its fourth version of that recovery plan, dating back to 2016….
SA: Federal agency demands more answers on Honolulu rail costs and faster city contributions
read … Honolulu Rail’s Final Federal Money Not Expected Until Next Year
Windfarm: Judge Approves Plan to Kill Lots of Bats
SA: … A Circuit judge on Wednesday affirmed a state board’s decision to approve the specific limitations put in place for the developer of a 25-megawatt wind farm on Oahu’s North Shore in regard to its impacts on opeapea, or Hawaiian hoary bats.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources voted 5-1 last year to approve the developer’s habitat conservation plan and “incidental take” license in a contested case filed by Keep the North Shore Country, a group concerned about the endangered native bats’ welfare.
A hearing officer agreed the developer’s habitat conservation plan did not comply with environmental laws, and the group appealed BLNR’s decision….
But Circuit Judge Jeffrey Crabtree found no wrongdoing in the board’s decision-making process….
Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC plans to build a wind farm with up to nine turbines near Kahuku High School. The proposed Na Pua Makani wind project is expected to sell power to Hawaiian Electric Co. for about 15 cents per kilowatt- hour over a 20-year period….
(That’s wholesale price for unreliable erratic electricity. Your bills will go up.)
read … Bat Killing Machine
HB1326: Will All the Water be Cut Off?
CB: … As opponents of House Bill 1326 were making a lot of noise in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday and chanting things like, “The people have spoken, the public trust is broken,” the state Senate was behind closed doors in its chamber-level quarters trying to save legislation extending the right of Alexander & Baldwin and others to divert water from East Maui streams.
In the end, the 24 Democrats were not sure if there were nine votes to pull HB 1326 out of the joint committee where it died April 4, or 13 votes to pass it and send it up to the governor’s office this week.
Some senators were pushing a version of the bill known as Senate Draft 1. That version took A&B, one of Hawaii’s oldest and most powerful companies, out of the equation but allowed several utility companies, farmers and ranchers to access state water (the public trust referenced above) for three more years.
Others preferred the House Draft 2 that extended the right of A&B and all the companies with revocable permits to divert stream water from East Maui for another seven years.
Because of a deadline Thursday to advance bills, Tuesday may have been the best chance to revive HB 1326. Some say the bill is now officially dead.
But others say the Senate may try yet again during one of the 12 floor sessions remaining before adjournment May 2….
On Monday, KITV’s Brenton Awa reported that Gov. David Ige met with the attorney general and members of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources “to find out what comes next” after the bill died last week.
Awa said that Ige’s administrative director told him that the state “will not renew any revocable water permits for small farmers and ranchers” when they expire this year.
“Ford Fuchigami tells us something has to happen by the end of this legislative session to fix the issue,” Awa reported. “The governor is expected to talk with both the House and Senate next.”….
There is one other possible outcome: For the Legislature to do nothing at all with the water rights issue.
It’s not clear whether that might result in lawsuits when Act 126 — the 2016 legislation that extended the water rights use for three years — expires June 30. A&B is already the subject of a court case on appeal, something that resulted in adopting Act 126 to help the company out.
It’s not clear whether the water would just stop flowing come Dec. 31, when the permits expire…
read … Inside The Legislature’s Backroom Brawl Over A Water Rights Bill
Voting Rights Violation? Ranked voting could make its way to Hawaii
SA: … Ranked voting, a new way to elect candidates for political office, could be coming to Hawaii if a bill making its way through the state Legislature becomes law.
In ranked choice voting, voters select several candidates, giving each a rank of 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on, with No. 1 being the voter’s first preference.
If one candidate is the first preference of more than 50% of the voters, she or he is elected outright. But if no candidate gets more than 50% of the No. 1 votes, the candidate with the fewest No. 1 votes is eliminated and those who voted for that candidate as their first preference have their second choice elevated to No. 1….
Senate Bill 427, which would establish ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections for vacant County Council positions, is moving through the state legislature….
In Hawaii’s 2018 midterm elections, a number of candidates won the primary elections without a majority of votes. Congressman Ed Case won the Democratic primary election for Hawaii’s first congressional district seat with less than 40% of the votes cast.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green won the Democratic primary election for lieutenant governor with 30% of the votes, and Ron Curtis won the Republican primary election for U.S. senator with less than 20%….
House Republicans have adamantly opposed the idea of ranked voting, fearing it would weaken the party.
Only five of the 51 state representatives are Republicans, and all are opposed to ranked voting.
In a March 1 press release, House Republicans targeted ranked voting and House Bill 210 in particular, a now-dead bill that would have used ranked voting in primary elections for partisan races.
In addition to the perceived threats to their party, House Republicans said ranked voting would be costly to implement and could potentially confuse and deter voters….
Former congressman Charles Djou, who ran as a Republican and succeeded Abercrombie, won a three-way special election against former congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and Case, who were both Democrats.
Djou received less than 40% of the votes, but the Democratic votes were split between Hanabusa and Case, who had about 30% and 27% of the votes respectively.
The other ranked voting bill going through the Legislature, House Bill 626, would address that particular circumstance by requiring ranked choice voting to be used to fill a vacant U.S. Representative position.
read … Ranked voting could make its way to Hawaii
Despite warnings, Kaneshiro continues to visit building that houses prosecutor’s office
HNN: … After Keith Kaneshiro placed himself on administrative leave pending the outcome of a federal criminal investigation, he was told to stay away from the city prosecutor’s office until the investigation was over.
But nearly a month after he was warned by the state Attorney General to keep his distance, he’s still showing up to Ali’i Place, Hawaii News Now has learned.
In the days after Kaneshiro’s decision to go on leave, Honolulu’s Acting Prosecuting Attorney, Dwight Nadamoto, allowed his boss to return to the office to pick up some personal belongings.
He did so at least twice over a span of five days, remaining at the office for several hours during each visit. A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office did not respond to questions about whether Kaneshiro has been escorted during those visits.
But since the day he was warned to keep out, according to sources, Kaneshiro has shown up to the office building at least four more times. During each of those visits, sources sources tell Hawaii News Now, Kaneshiro met with his executive assistant, Carol Nakamura, and was handed envelopes.
On Wednesday afternoon, the prosecutor’s office denied that Kaneshiro had returned to his actual office in the building but admitted that he has visited the building, which has a public parking lot.
The spokesperson did not answer Hawaii News Now’s questions about why Kaneshiro had been meeting with Nakamura, and did not deny that the meetings had taken place.
A spokesperson for the state’s Attorney General’s office said Wednesday that their expectation was that Kaneshiro would not visit Ali’i Place and would have ‘no contact’ with office personnel, including Nakamura ― and that “anything short of that raises concerns.”
“Mr. Kaneshiro should not be visiting the building and getting files and envelopes from his executive assistant," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We’ve been told by Mr. Kaneshiro’s counsel that he was getting paystubs and personal items – we have communicated that this practice should stop and paystubs etc. should be mailed to him.”
read … Despite warnings, Kaneshiro continues to visit building that houses prosecutor’s office
Carlisle Wants Embattled Prosecutor's Job
AP: … Carlisle told The Associated Press he is seeking to replace Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, who took a leave of absence after receiving a letter informing him he's a target in a federal investigation….
"The next election will be in 2020. If Mr. Carlisle or others would like to run, they should feel free to do so," said Bill McCorriston, an attorney who represents Kaneshiro.
Carlisle, 66, said he would be willing to serve sooner if Kaneshiro is ousted. A Honolulu businessman has filed an impeachment petition against Kaneshiro.
"I'm geared up and ready to go," Carlisle said. "The sooner Kaneshiro is replaced, the better off Honolulu will be."…
Milner noted that Carlisle beat Kaneshiro in a 2004 primary.
The city charter says if there's a prosecuting attorney vacancy while there's at least a year left in the term, there would be a special election. If less than a year, the first deputy would serve. If the first deputy is found to be unqualified, the mayor and council would appoint someone.
There have been only three people in the prosecutor's job since it became an elected position in 1981, said Colin Moore director of the university Public Policy Center.
"There might be an opportunity here for a fresh face or a new person," he said. "We haven't seen a real strong challenge in that office for a while." …
read … Former Mayor Wants Embattled Prosecutor's Job
Ala Wai: DLNR-DTL Scheme to Funnell Money to OHA will Damage Cultural Resources
SA: … Now on the table: a lease for up to 55 years, and construction of mixed-use development, which could include restaurants and retail, residential units and hotels, and various other magnets. Among the unofficial developer ideas offered up so far: a “simulated experience” staged in a movie theater, similar to virtual rides at Universal Studios and Disneyland; and a large-scale Ferris wheel that could be modeled after the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel.
Such attractions could yield a lot of ticket sales, which, in turn, could yield harbor upgrades. But before signing off on any high-visibility moneymaker, DLNR, in tandem with the community, must weigh whether it enhances or dilutes Hawaii’s distinctive sense of place — the islands’ main attraction for many visitors.
Since Honey Bee’s exit, nearly 30 different parties have expressed interest in the redevelopment opportunity. While some are offering up dazzling visions, DLNR must remain tethered to maximizing revenues without short-changing its own mission, which is to “enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s … natural, cultural and historic resources.”
read … Spare harbor from glitzy makeovers
SB1000: Electric Vehicle Mandate Will Make Housing Even Less Affordable
CB: … Senate Bill 1000 SD2 HD1 has the purpose of prohibiting the issuance of building permits pursuant to applications initiated on or after Jan. 1, 2020, for certain new multi-family dwelling and commercial parking areas unless at least 20% of the parking stalls are EV charger ready or the permits are in compliance with building code requirements that are at least as stringent as the statewide requirement….
House Bill 1585 HD1 SD1 has the purpose of creating a program to be administered by the Public Utilities Commission that offers rebates for the installation of new EV charging systems or the upgrade of existing EV charging systems, to be funded by a newly established electric vehicle charging system rebate program special fund….
read … Unaffordable
Aina Lea – After 10 Years in Court, Affordable Housing Project May Now Be Built
WHT: … Aina Lea Inc. expects to emerge from bankruptcy next month following a judge’s tentative approval of a plan that will make viable the continued development of The Villages of Aina Lea.
“This should very well be it,” Robert Wessels, Aina Lea Inc. CEO and chairman, said of the long-stymied South Kohala project getting underway again after 10 years of essentially being on-hold amid legal and regulatory wrangling.
With two major financiers committed to financing the affordable housing component of the project, Lulana Gardens, Wessels says the company has all the “capital necessary to move forward” with the project that would add more than 1,900 affordable and luxury residential units to the Big Island housing market.
Construction could get back underway within a year, so long as all conditions of the plan are met, company officials say.
“We’re looking at hopefully being in construction before the end of the year and being able to deliver the units early next year because we have several units standing that are ready to be finished and turned over for the for-sale side of it,” Wessels said….
read … Affordable
Hawaii sees a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases
KITV: … Chlamydia infections have increased by up to 20 percent, with the majority of those infected being young adults.
Gonorrhea and syphilis infection rates are even higher, and the majority of those with these STDs are older adults. …
read … Hawaii sees a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases
Pearl City intermediate school DoE Child Molester Gets Away With It—Then Foolishly Leaves Hawaii
HNN: … A sex offender murdered in Washington state is now being accused of serial sex assaults that took place decades ago at Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City.
Victims have recently come forward accusing Joseph Moisa was a campus police officer and oversaw students in the school’s Campus Police Officer (CPO) program which helped handle crowd and traffic control.
“He was really, to them, a bully — a frightening figure with the authority of the school behind him. They were in fear of him," said attorney Mark Gallagher, who represents one of the victims.
“There were oral sex types and fondling types of conduct ... He would strike them with an open hand while telling them they would be harmed if they share with anyone what it was that he had done.”
Gallagher said he’s aware of about half a dozen of Moisa’s victims.
Hawaii News Now has learned that other victims plan to come forward with a separate lawsuit accusing Moisa of molesting them and the Department of Education of not supervising him.…
Moisa’s story got more bizarre after he moved to the California where he was convicted of sexually molesting a child in 2010.
He then moved to Washington state where he was killed in 2014.
Richard Atkisson was accused of bludgeoning Moisa with a pipe and suffocating him with a plastic bag.
News reports said Atkisson, a sex offender himself, killed Moisa and another roommate because he suspected they were looking for potential victims….
Meanwhile: Hawaii Homosexual joins Navy—Busted for Child Molestation on base in Groton, CT
read … Sex assault allegations from the 70s surface at a Pearl City intermediate school