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June 1, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:05 PM :: 1034 Views

Why people are leaving ‘paradise’

VIDEO: Cato Jones Act Forum

Hawaii US Dollar Worth Only 84 Cents

Help the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board develop ethics training

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 1, 2019

‘First Time in Memory’ -- Firefighters Contract Arbitration to be Rejected?

HTH: … A pay plan for firefighters that includes raises as well as bonuses and other perks could be on shaky ground, with Mayor Harry Kim opposed and the County Council offering only tepid support.

The agreement with the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association must be approved by all four counties in order to be valid. Counties have the option of accepting or rejecting it outright, without changes….

If even one county votes no, the collective bargaining process, which this year ended in the hands of an independent arbitrator, goes back to square one. Hawaii County could become that county, rejecting a statewide collective bargaining agreement for the first time in memory.

The council, sitting as the Finance Committee, voted 5-3 last week to forward Resolution 169 to its only council vote Tuesday. With Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz recusing herself because she’s married to a firefighter, just one more no vote will kill the measure on a 4-4 tie….

“The concern that our constituents and the people of this island are concerned with is the extremely high cost of wages for, not only the Fire Department, but this entire county,” said Finance Committee Chairwoman Maile David, representing South Kona/Ka‘u, a no vote. “They are talking about cutting and then when you have something here, looking at the numbers, is astronomical as far as a layman’s vision.”

Also voting no were Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter and Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder.

The compensation package, featuring a 2% salary increase for each of two years, $1.2 million in bonuses and an increase in regular pay based on years of service — known as step increases — would cost the county an extra $7 million over two years on a payroll budget of roughly $30 million annually, about 10% more.

There are 425 employees in the Fire Department, not all of whom are in the bargaining unit….

Background:

read … Firefighter raises, bonuses questioned

Caldwell $2.4M Giveaway to Public Employees Undermines Contract Reopener Negotiations

HNN: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced plans to raise the minimum wage for about 1,000 city workers in his state of the city address Thursday night. 

Currently, about 10% of city workers make minimum wage is $10.10/hour. …

The majority of jobs that will see an increase are part-time jobs, although some are full-time.

Jobs and departments included are:  911 emergency response operators, park attendants, parking violations, security attendant, and ticket taker at places like the Blaisdell.

The pay increase will initially cost the city $2.4 million.

The cost was already factored into the 2020 budget, which the city council is set to approve next week….

Manahan said most employees are already making between $13 and $14, but says there won't be any impact on city services with the higher wages.

Other jobs that could see a bump include summer fun camp counselors and other clerical jobs….

Background: Contract Reopeners: More Raises on Tap for Public Employee Unions

read … City workers to see minimum wage increase this summer

Pilikia: Hawaii lawmakers give Sierra Club Crony $135K to make Global Warming Video

SA: … State lawmakers have awarded a six-figure grant to help finance a six-part documentary warning of the impacts of climate change on Hawaii which will be produced by a private film company led by a former chairman of the Oahu Group of the Sierra Club.

The grant would provide $135,000 to HI Share, a nonprofit organization that is acting as fiscal sponsor for Green Island Films LLC. Former Sierra Club Oahu Group Chairman Anthony Aalto is one of the principals of Green Island and is producer of the climate change documentary with the working title of “Pilikia.”

Aalto said he believes that “World War III has started, that climate change is a world war, it’s a war for the future of our world. We’ve already seen the equivalent of major battles with major battlefield casualties around the world.”…

He cites the examples of the … unprecedented rainfall on the north shore of Kauai during flooding April 13-16, 2018….

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … Taxpayer-funded Pseudo Science

PUC Cost of Green energy ‘Reasonable’

PBN: … The Performance-Based Regulation plans to incentivize utility companies for reaching performance targets that include customer-centric goals to steer the utility toward achieving the state’s portfolio goals at a reasonable cost to customer….

read … Your Green in Their Pocket

Kealoha Trial: ‘That’s Not The Way That Mailbox Should Come Off’

CB: … Alexander Silvert, who’s credited with uncovering the alleged conspiracy involving Louis and Katherine Kealoha, gets his day in court….

read … Kealoha Trial: ‘That’s Not The Way That Mailbox Should Come Off’

Prosecutor’s Decision to Give Molester-Cop a Plea Bargain ‘Outrageous’

SA: … the more outrageous case in point: Former Honolulu police officer Teddy O. Van Lerberghe, 45, will get probation only, after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexually assaulting a girl over four years starting in 2004, when she was just 5 years old. For perspective: That period spanned nearly half of her young life.

Van Lerberghe, who joined HPD in January 2007, was terminated in May 2016. Good.

For his crimes, though, Van Lerberghe struck a plea deal guaranteeing a five-year probation sentence with no included jail term; he’ll also have to register as a sex offender for life. That’s the deal, despite pleading guilty to four Class B felonies, normally punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and three Class C felonies….

read … Editorial: Crime and punishment

FEC Warns Gabbard She’s In Violation Of Ethics Rules Over Financial Disclosures

CB: … Hawaii congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard was supposed to file a financial disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission 30 days after becoming a candidate, or by May 15.

As of May 29, she has not submitted the required paperwork.

That’s according to a letter obtained by the Center for Public Integrity from the FEC warning her that she’s in violation of ethics rules….

LINK: FEC Letter

read … FEC Warns Gabbard She’s In Violation Of Ethics Rules Over Financial Disclosures

Waimanalo: Nobody Noticed for 9 Years

SA: … Some Waimanalo residents and others, angry about clearing parts of what’s known as Sherwood Forest or Sherwood’s, have been turning out in force recently — including a public meeting last week and Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s State of the City address Thursday — holding signs and demanding that the project be halted.

They have a point. Bulldozing a well-loved forest to make room for sports fields, playgrounds and a parking lot, with anticipated traffic and environmental problems, sounds like something a lot of community members might oppose.

It’s too bad they didn’t raise such forceful objections a lot sooner. The Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Master Plan has been in development for years. Public hearings were held as early as 2010, with a final environmental assessment (EA) posted in July 2012, after a 30-day public comment period.

Work has already begun on Phase I, with $1.43 million of public funds committed. Caldwell said that pulling out now would cost about $300,000, with nothing to show for it….

read … Editorial: Trouble in Waimanalo

Stadium Boondoggle Based on Rail Boondoggle

SA: … HCDA’s chances for forging successful ventures at Halawa will hinge on further honing public-private partnership expertise, and on working efficiently and effectively in tandem with the facility’s management arm, Aloha Stadium Authority, and with Honolulu Hale. Both already have in hand in proposals tied to the area’s future.

The Stadium Authority has long been leading the charge to construct a new stadium rather than opt for a pricey repair route, which includes a long list of deferred maintenance and improvements needed to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.

A Stadium Authority report two years ago described the 50,000-seat venue as a “potential danger to public health and safety” and “financial burden.” The panel has pitched an attractive — although also pricey — replacement vision: a U-shaped 30,000- to 35,000-seat facility. The current price tag for the scaled-down arena: $350 million.

In an artist’s rendering, the facility opens at one end to a grass berm surrounded by restaurants, shops and offices as well as housing. The site’s overlap with Honolulu’s transit-oriented development (TOD) bolsters a valid argument that much of this housing should be reserved for tenants and buyers representing moderate- and low-income levels.

A rail station is expected to be constructed near the stadium; and the first segment of the 20-mile elevated transit line — East Kapolei to the stadium — is slated to open in late 2020. Optimistically.

Meanwhile, the “Halawa Area TOD” master plan outlines general development patterns, preservation and creation of public view corridors, proposed zoning, and pinpoints necessary infrastructure. In testimony on HB 1586, Honolulu Hale said that plan was developed in “close cooperation” with the Stadium Authority, landowners, key state departments, military representatives and the public….

read … One good boondoggle deserves another

Kahului’s homeless crisis gets an unflattering comparison: It’s starting to look like Honolulu’s

HNN: … Homeless campsites popping up along the roadside in Kahului.  Service providers say the homeless are migrating to town from beaches and out in the brush. …

“…The drug use progressed while I was on the beach,” she said. “I was hooked on opiates.”

“Virtually all of our all of our islands have no in-patient drug treatment beds,” said Green. “Without treatment in all parts of the state, we’re going to have a hard time solving this problem.”…

In Kahului, Green said this as he looked at people lying on the sidewalk along Alamaha Street: “It’s starting to look a little more in some cases like we see in Honolulu."…

“We might be attracting people to come here,” said state Rep. Lynn DeCoite. “And that’s the comments I’m hearing from people within my district.”…

(Question: How do we create services which won’t ‘attract’ bums.  Answer: Apply force.  Open lots of shelter beds so there will always be vacancies and then enforce vagrancy laws by arresting all bums who refuse to go to the shelters.  If the jails fill up, create tent jails inside razor wire enclosures.  That will quickly chase them away from the state.  The first step is to stop listening to what the homeless want.)

read … Kahului’s homeless crisis gets an unflattering comparison: It’s starting to look like Honolulu’s

Lawmakers explore public/private partnership for maintenance of school facility

HNN: … Construction is underway at Moanalua High School for a new $35 million dollar performing arts center. While some may be critical of that price tag, state lawmakers are looking at different ways to manage the facility that they say could actually bring in revenue.

They're pursuing a public/private partnership where a contractor could come in to maintain and operate the facility and the community could utilize the venue when the schools not using it….

“Nothing would be more sad than having this great $30 million plus facility built to service (not just this community but also the surrounding area) to have it fall into disrepair,” said State Rep. Aaron Johanson.

State Senator Glenn Wakai is dreaming even bigger to bring in much needed revenue for the state.

“Maybe the model would be to have the school control the facility for 60 percent of the year, and the contractor says for the other 40 percent we want to be able to sell it to theatrical shows, to community engagement events... to whatever,” said Wakai.

The proposal is still very much exploratory at this point…

read … Lawmakers explore public/private partnership for maintenance of school facility

Survey: Most UH Manoa Students Don’t Support Increase To Athletic Fee

CB: … The survey of 2,236 students found that 65% of them do not want to pay an increased fee, according to results released Friday. However, the survey also found that 73% of students think athletics enhances the university’s image.

Students currently pay a $50 fee each semester.

The survey found that those who hold a positive image of the athletic department or have attended at least one athletic event, about a third of those surveyed, were more likely to support possible increases to the fee….

read … Survey: Most UH Manoa Students Don’t Support Increase To Athletic Fee

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