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Friday, June 14, 2019
June 14, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:52 PM :: 1438 Views

Hawaii needs a handy ‘adjust policy’ tab

Hey, shipbuilders, Jones Act reform is your friend

How High Are Wine Taxes in Your State?

Let’s be reasonable about STRs

P3 or not P3? Rail project faces difficult transition

SA: …  >> Last Friday Robbins delivered what’s expected to be the final recovery plan to the overseeing Federal Transit Administration in San Francisco. This assembles a new financial blueprint needed for the project, whose pricetag has rocketed up to almost double earlier projections. At issue is the release of the remaining $744 million in federal subsidy.

>> Robbins flew there after a presentation to the HART board that likely had some in the room, as well as in the general public, biting their nails. Cracks were discovered in prefabricated steel canopy support “arms” to be used at West Oahu stations. Robbins said the repairs, which will be handled by contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. at its own cost, can be done while the project moves along.

>> All of this is happening on the brink of learning what costs to expect for the City Center phase of the project, once the bids submitted in a public-private partnership process are revealed….

The FTA expects the financial package to include $25 million in city funds in the coming year, from a bond issuance that still needs City Council approval by a supermajority of six votes. Two of the Council’s nine members are “no” votes; one is undecided. That’s a thin margin….

read … Rail project faces difficult transition

Gov. Ige and President Trump find common ground on some policies

SA: … Gov. David Ige found common ground with President Donald Trump on Thursday during a working lunch at the White House to discuss issues relating to workforce development, occupational licensing laws and child care policies.

The luncheon was attended by several governors, both Democratic and Republican, and members of the Trump administration, including Ivanka Trump, who has served as an adviser to her father on workforce issues.

Ige thanked Trump for providing disaster aid for Hawaii during the meeting, which was streamed on C-SPAN. …

Ige also briefed the president on Hawaii initiatives that dovetail with priorities of the Trump administration, including expanding apprenticeship programs in health care and technology and supporting programs that help incarcerated people find jobs after they’re released.

“We are pursuing second chance and criminal justice reform as well, investing in prison industry programs, trying to ensure that those, at the time that they end their incarceration, have quality job skills so they can hit the job running as well,” said Ige, who was seated between White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds….

Reached by phone, Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the meeting showcased bipartisan areas of agreement.

“I do think that we see eye to eye on our commitment to get Americans working,” he said. “It was about how can we prepare for the workplace of the future.”…

read … Gov. Ige and President Trump find common ground on some policies

ACLU Says Disparities in School Suspensions Must be Racial—Can’t Possibly be Family Structure

CB: …Last year’s release of federal school discipline data for the 2015-16 school year showed a big racial disparity among school suspensions in Hawaii, one that disproportionately affects Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.….

“We always see Hawaii as this outlier, as far as the frequency of suspensions, the punitive amount of suspensions, but also when it comes to Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian students — the state has arrest rates that are multiple times the national average,” said Amir Whitaker, a policy attorney with the ACLU Southern California chapter.

In town last week to participate in a panel organized by ACLU Hawaii, Whitaker introduced a new tool he’s created to search school by school in Hawaii to see how many total days students have missed and which student groups are most impacted.…  

SA Editorial: Schools should curb suspensions

SA Letter: Weak family structure leads to suspensions

SA: Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students are suspended more days than U.S. average  --  ACLU of Hawaii and ACLU of Southern California dashboard, online at www.tinyurl.com/ACLUHItool. Based on U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection, 2015-16 academic year.  

KITV: Study finds Hawaii's public school suspension rates nearly double national average

  • Really Obvious Idea: Correlate suspensions to fatherless homes. 
  • Clue: The ACLU won’t do this for you.

read … ACLU Says Hawaii Schools Are Suspending Too Many Students

Task force to examine rules of involuntary hospitalizations

HTH: … Gov. David Ige on June 7 signed legislation that aims to improve mental health care.

House Bill 1013, now Act 90, will create a task force within the state Department of Health to examine sections of state statutes pertaining to involuntary hospitalization. …

According to the legislation, the task force will:

• Develop criteria for the director of health to designate facilities to transport, examine and treat patients;

• Review existing laws, law enforcement protocols and procedures for inconsistencies and ensure MH-1 patients are appropriately transported;

• Develop recommendations for efficient and appropriate distribution of patients transported for emergency examination across health care facilities in a given county;

•Assess current law enforcement and health care facility needs and capacities for the evaluation and treatment of MH-1 patients, including the availability of beds and necessary services to treat patients experiencing a mental health crisis, preventing crisis situations and avoiding unnecessary transport of patients;

• Develop recommendations for building a coordinated system of care with capacity for crisis services, community services, and outpatient and inpatient services to address the needs of those with mental illness and substance use disorders who are in crisis; and

• Make recommendations for reimbursement to support these efforts….

HNN: Hometown Heroes: The psychiatrist who practices on the streets to ‘make Hawaii a better place’

read … Task force to examine rules of involuntary hospitalizations

Homeless Drug Addicts Take over Coco Palms Property

KGI: … Near the Coco Palms resort concrete ruins that line the north side of Kuhio Highway, on 14 acres of state land, a house overflows with trash, and derelict vehicles sit outside.

There are also signs posted at the entrance into the ruins of Coco Palms that say “No Trespassing: Violators will be prosecuted.”

But according to one of the current occupiers of the land, Noa Mau-Espirito, he and two other men, Charles Hepa and Liko-O-Kalani, never left the land they claim they have the legitimate rights to through royal patent and ancestry.

Mau-Espirito said there may be anywhere from 20 to 30 people living on the land, and that the group of the three men is not connected to them.

“There’s a lot of people over here now that’s not with us,” Mau-Espirito said. “There is actually, I would say, a meth and heroin problem.” …

read … People still residing at Coco Palms

Shakedown: Activists Begin Running ‘Water Quality’ Scheme on Maui

MN: … The Hui O Ka Wai Ola team, also known as the Clean Ocean Team, has been taking samples in South Maui for over a year to test water quality along the coast from Makena to Haycraft Park in Maalaea.

Data on the amounts of sediment, nutrients and other pollutants from land-based sources entering the ocean are collected every two to three weeks. The Hui team tests for 13 water quality parameters, including ocean salinity, pH, temperature, organic nutrients, dissolved oxygen and turbidity, said Kim Falinski of The Nature Conservancy and the quality assurance officer for the team.

Samples are extracted in knee-deep coastal water.

The Health Department requires 30 samples be taken over a two-year period for the data to be considered valid, Falinski said. Labs on Maui are used, but some samples are sent to Oahu for more advanced analysis, she said.

It costs about $300 a month to monitor one site. One lab test for one water quality sample is $50, which is why Hui O Ka Wai Ola relies on donations and funding from the community, local businesses and the county, Callender added.

Coming soon, the team hopes to begin testing for bacterial parameters, like enterococcus and clostridium…

Reality: Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

read …  Copying Kauai

Waikiki Mayors Confab to see Push for More Crackpot climate change cases

LNL: … Climate litigation isn’t on the official agenda when the U.S. Conference of Mayors meets in Honolulu at the end of the month, but it will probably loom in the background.

More than 1,000 cities and counties responded to pitches from private lawyers to join lawsuits against the opioid industry, most of them now pending before a federal judge in Ohio. Some of the same lawyers are pitching cities on lawsuits against energy companies to recover costs associated with global warming.

California mayors Martine Watkins of Santa Cruz and Tom Butt of Richmond plan to introduce a resolution that “support cities’ rights and efforts to mitigate climate change damages and protect taxpayers from related costs,” including lawsuits. …

May 13, 2019: Hawaii to Sue over Global Warming? UH Law School Debunked

read … Mayors of Calif. cities will seek to protect their climate change cases with resolution at Hawaii conference

Second Schofield employee charged with bribery  

KHON: … Experts say a plea deal is in the works, which means the federal government is casting a wider net to catch others involved in the bribery scheme.

Court documents say Victor Garo, a former civilian supervisory range officer at Schofield Barracks, conspired with others to solicit bribes in exchange for awarding contracts.

Prosecutors say last year, Garo helped approve a $12 million contract for vegetation removal work at Schofield. Documents do not name the contractor and only identify it as "Company A."  

A legal expert says court records indicate that Garo is already cooperating with the prosecutors.

"Basically convinced the defendant that there's no sense in fighting this and that it's in their benefit to work it out now," said defense attorney Victor Bakke, who's not involved in the case.

He says information released by prosecutors shows there could be others who were involved. Documents say Garo supervised a staff of 83 employees at the range. Last month, Franklin Raby, also a former range employee at Schofield, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

"Once this case falls then you'll start to see cooperation from others and it will just have that domino effect all the way up the chain to the big fish," said Bakke,

Court documents say Garo and other public officials recommended U.S. Army contracts that they knew would be awarded to Company A. And in exchange, Garo received valuable items. Among them, numerous rifles, a Jeep Rubicon, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, as well as a diamond ring. …

read … Second Schofield employee charged with bribery

No Surprise: Pinky Tows Driver and Vehicle have Numerous Violations

HNN: … The 52-year-old woman who was driving a tow truck that plowed into 10 other cars Wednesday has dozens of traffic violations dating back a decade.

Police have opened a negligent injury case after the Windward Oahu crash, which left a 31-year-old man in critical condition and sent three others to the hospital in good to serious condition.

The tow truck involved in the crash was being driven for Pinky Tows Hawaii.

Records show that in the last eight months she has been cited for driving with a mobile electronic device, an invalid safety check, no vehicle insurance, and a limit on her commercial drivers license.

Police said the 2002 Kenworth tow truck she was driving was headed northbound at the Likelike Highway off-ramp to Kahekili Highway about 2:30 p.m. when its brakes apparently failed. Speed also appears to be a factor in the crash.

Sources tell Hawaii News Now that the tow truck was towing a vehicle over the weight limit ….

read … Pinky Tows Driver and Vehicle have Numerous Violations

Credit card debt in Hawaii grows at fastest clip in the nation

HNN: Credit card debt in Hawaii grew by 3.4% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year ― the biggest year-over-year growth in the nation, according to credit reporting agency Experian.

Experian said the average credit card debt in Hawaii is now nearly $6,500.

That’s about $500 more than the national average, but isn’t the highest in the nation ….

Link: Report

read … Credit card debt in Hawaii grows at fastest clip in the nation

Vacation rental applications trickling in

HTH: … Vacation rental registrations are coming in faster than workers at the county Planning Department can process them.

As of early this week, 226 registrations had been processed, with 100 of them also requiring a nonconforming use permit because they’re not in permitted areas. In addition, paper application forms were stacked in several boxes awaiting processing.

Still, that’s just a fraction of the 7,990 active advertised rentals on the Big Island as of this week. Of those, 45% are on Airbnb, 28% on HomeAway/VRBO and 87% are entire homes, according to AirDNA statistics analyzed by Stefan Buchta, who’s compiled data on the short-term rentals.

Some of that total, although not many, are hosted rentals, where the owner lives on premises, Buchta said. Hosted rentals aren’t covered by the new law.

County officials expected a slow start to the applications and the incoming forms are tracking with the county’s conservative estimates…

Information and application forms can be found at >>> LINK.

read … Vacation rental applications trickling in

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