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Saturday, August 24, 2019
August 24, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:39 PM :: 1810 Views

Oahu Traffic 4th Worst in USA

DoT Among Most Inefficient: Hawaii Highways Rank 47th

Make the Jones Act worse?

DBEDT: Economic Outlook Stable--too Early to Detect Effects of TVR Ban

Hawaiian Airlines Touts Role as 'Economic Driver'

Homelessness: Ige Issues 5th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation

113 UPW Members Have Stopped Showing up for Work at Maui Jail

SA: … In an informational hearing this week, legislators heard about worsening staff levels at Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC), where a March riot caused over $5 million in damage. Of MCCC’s 167 guard positions, only 54 officers are showing up for work regularly — less than one-third of the needed workforce to keep conditions, and the public, safe. That’s plunged since May, when the department said 83 guards were on the job on a regular basis.

Recruiting has brought candidates who failed to pass muster. Mostly due to staff shortages, the Department of Public Safety in fiscal 2019 paid nearly $14 million in overtime statewide, about $3 million more than the previous year….

Espinda inherited many chronic problems such as understaffing, overcrowding and outdated facilities when he took the top job in 2015. Post-riot, MCCC has had first some basic improvements, such as fixing of faulty doors, installing of video cameras in modules, and fixing of phones (all were inoperable pre-riot). But beyond facilities, legislators pressed Espinda about plunging work morale due to a culture of intimidation from the top. Clearly, a turnaround in management style and better strategies are desperately needed, to defuse this public-safety powder keg.

Espinda said the final report into the MCCC riot would not be publicly released. That’s not good; even if redacted, the public deserves to know as much as possible….

read … Public Safety still a mess after re-appointing Espinda

HB398: Gut and Replace Bill Quietly Removed Three UH Regents--Including Chair, Portnoy

PBN: …UH regents will also be operating with fewer members from here on in.

The Legislature this year passed a last-minute bill to reduce the number of regents to 11 from 15 — the number of regents representing Honolulu was reduced to five from seven, and two at-large seats were eliminated.

House Bill 398 started out as a bill to increase the number of distance-learning classes UH offers to students majoring in education.

The Senate added the language to change the size and composition of the board of regents in a floor amendment on April 9 and passed the bill on third reading two days later. Then in the final days of the session, the conference committee deleted the language about distance-learning classes and added an effective date of June 30. Gov. David Ige signed it into law on June 27.

The board is currently operating with 12 members. Three Honolulu regents’ terms ended on June 30 — board Chair Lee Putnam, Vice Chair Jeffrey Portnoy and regent Stanford Yuen — and they were not replaced.

The board will be reduced to 11 regents through attrition, as members serve out their terms, said University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

“Eventually the two seats considered at-large will be eliminated and everything will settle into place,” he said in an email to PBN. “The law never specified how we were to get to the new composition, so it will be over time.”….

read … University of Hawaii regents' Mauna Kea group won't have immediate answers

Supreme Court: State Failed Trust Duties In Pohakuloa

CB: … The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state has not properly managed lands on lease to the military on the Big Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources loans more than 20,000 acres of land in Pohakuloa to the military for training with rent at just $1 a year. Part of the militaries lease states that DLNR must monitor activities and ensure that trash and unexploded ordinance is removed.

Cultural practitioners who use the land found spent shell casings and other ordinance, the opinion says.

“As trustee, the State must take an active role in preserving trust property and may not passively allow it to fall into ruin,” the high court wrote in its 101-page opinion. ….

read … Supreme Court: State Failed Trust Duties In Pohakuloa

Court hearing for nine arrested during TMT protests draws crowd of about 200

HTH: … An overflow crowd of about 200 people packed a Hilo courtroom and an adjacent hallway as nine kupuna were arraigned this morning on charges they obstructed Maunakea Access Road on July 17 to prevent construction vehicles and workers from scaling Maunakea to build the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The nine, Jim Albertini, Tomas Belsky, Marie Alohalani Brown, Ana Kahoopii, Kaliko Kanaele, Carmen Hulu Lindsey, Edleen Peleiholani, Hawley Reese and Ranette Robinson, all pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstruction charges. They were the first of 38 individuals arrested on the third day of protests on the mountain they consider sacred.

Peleiholani, who’s known as “Aunty Tootsie,” was clad in a red blouse and ti leaf lei, bearing a red- and yellow-feathered kahili. She told Hilo District Judge Bruce Larson, “I plead not guilty of being on Hawaiian land.”

(She gets the focus because she is a more sympathetic character than 911 troooother Jim Albertini or convicted killer Abel Simeona Lui who is also among the 38.)

Larson ordered all nine to appear at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20 for pre-trial conferences. Trials will presumably be set during those court dates.

The remaining 29 individuals arrested face court dates next month and in October….

read … Court hearing for nine arrested during TMT protests draws crowd of about 200

TMT Bond: Nakamura Dismisses Motion Calling for Court Order

HTH: … A Hilo judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against the Thirty Meter Telescope that sought an injunction to block its construction because the project did not post a security bond.

The lawsuit, which was filed in July by seven petitioners and the religious organization Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, argued that, because the TMT project did not post a $1.4 billion security bond, as required by the 1977 Maunakea Plan, the notice to proceed with construction was invalid.

The court in July had previously denied the plaintiffs’ petition requesting a temporary restraining order against the project, but has now dismissed the lawsuit outright.

“The court has decided that you don’t get to continually re-litigate an issue after you’ve lost,” said TMT attorney Ross Shinyama, explaining that the 1977 Maunakea Plan has been superseded by more recent management plans that don’t require a security bond….

(Skip several paragraphs of protesters pretending that their case is still alive when it isn’t, like they always do.)…

Shinyama said the conclusion of the lawsuit has eliminated the only legal current legal challenge against TMT itself. However, two other lawsuits have challenged the use of law enforcement to enable TMT construction.….

read … Day 40 of the Mauna Kea conflict

University of Hawaii regents' Mauna Kea group won't have immediate answers

PBN: … University of Hawaii board of regents earlier this month formed a committee to investigate the university’s oversight of Mauna Kea and the 13 observatories there, but the six members won’t have recommendations to present when the board meets next week.

The permitted interactive group — or PIG in government vernacular — was approved at the regents’ Aug. 2 meeting.

Since then, the group’s six members — regents Chair Ben Kudo, Vice Chair Jan Sullivan, Vice Chair Wayne Higaki, student regent Kelly Acopan, Hawaii County regent Alapaki Nahale-a and Maui County regent Ernest Wilson — have started meeting but will not have a report ready by the Aug. 30 board meeting. The university said Thursday that the board rescheduled decision-making on proposed administrative rules for the lands the university manages on Mauna Kea to Nov. 6, when it will hold a special meeting at the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus.

The university said the delay was to give the board additional time to review feedback and to allow the newly formed group to review the stewardship and governance on Mauna Kea. The group has a lot to go over, and must help the new regents with getting caught up on the history and the issues surrounding the telescopes.

Acopan and Nahale-a, along with Robert Westerman of Kauai County, who is not part of the Mauna Kea group, were appointed to the board in January. Nahale-a, who is director of regional strategies at Kamehameha Schools on Hawaii Island, was previously a member of the Office of Maunakea Management board.

Meanwhile, the regents will also be operating with fewer members from here on in.

The Legislature this year passed a last-minute bill to reduce the number of regents to 11 from 15 — the number of regents representing Honolulu was reduced to five from seven, and two at-large seats were eliminated.

House Bill 398 started out as a bill to increase the number of distance-learning classes UH offers to students majoring in education.

The Senate added the language to change the size and composition of the board of regents in a floor amendment on April 9 and passed the bill on third reading two days later. Then in the final days of the session, the conference committee deleted the language about distance-learning classes and added an effective date of June 30. Gov. David Ige signed it into law on June 27.

The board is currently operating with 12 members. Three Honolulu regents’ terms ended on June 30 — board Chair Lee Putnam, Vice Chair Jeffrey Portnoy and regent Stanford Yuen — and they were not replaced.

The board will be reduced to 11 regents through attrition, as members serve out their terms, said University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

“Eventually the two seats considered at-large will be eliminated and everything will settle into place,” he said in an email to PBN. “The law never specified how we were to get to the new composition, so it will be over time.”

read … University of Hawaii regents' Mauna Kea group won't have immediate answers

The Consequences Of Misinformation About Mauna Kea

CB: … Last week a CNN Entertainment article by Marianne Garvey appeared. In the article she interviews movie star Jason Mamoa. Mamoa has spent a couple weeks on and off in the encampment on the Mauna Kea Access Road, where his celebrity status guarantees him access to the core of the protest movement, as such we routinely see photos of him with key leaders.

Mamoa has access, but not having been involved with the many hearings and the contested case he has probably learned much of what he believes about TMT recently, and from the same key leaders. As such what he claims in the CNN interview is particularly revealing about what many in the movement believe. Mamoa is quoted as saying “Most of them are outdated and they’re not as big. They’re just up there and they promised to remove them and they never have. It’s just another one of those promises … and we’re done. We’re over it.”

He also says, “They’re mostly non-functioning.”…

One of the most common myths repeated is that most of the 13 telescopes on the summit are outdated, obsolete, or non-functional. Protesters often describe the summit as a graveyard of rusting telescopes. There is no question this is a myth, very easily disproven, yet one of the most pervasive we see in objections to astronomy on Mauna Kea.

There is a nugget of truth here: There is a grand total of one telescope that is being taken down as it has completed its operational life. One. Even that telescope, the CalTech Submillimeter Observatory, is not rusting or abandoned, it is in the process of an orderly decommissioning and removal.

One other telescope, the small Hoku Kea, should be operational, but is now a victim of the deal to remove five telescopes. An empty dome sits on the summit, a nicely refurbished dome ready for use, the new telescope for that dome sits in storage while the university looks for another site.

The remaining 11 telescopes are operational, well maintained, and doing science. To comply with the court’s demand to remove five telescopes, three other useful, operational telescopes will have to be removed….

Consider what happens as this myth is repeated in the protest community: Combine the idea that the summit of Mauna Kea is littered with broken telescopes with the very true commitment of the university to remove and restore the sites of telescopes once decommissioned and you get an even more destructive myth. That the university has broken its promise, when in fact it has not.

The protest community has become a stew of misinformation, which mutates and evolves with each re-telling. Those who have watched and often attempted to counter this swirl of misinformation have observed the process in action….

read … The Consequences Of Misinformation About Mauna Kea

A&B to apply for permit to continue to take water from E. Maui

MN: … Alexander & Baldwin confirmed Friday that it will be applying for a one-year revocable permit to continue to divert water from East Maui streams on state land.

A&B’s ability to draw water from its diversions, as it has for more than 100 years for its now shutdown sugar operations, had been thrown into jeopardy when a 1st Circuit Court in 2016 ruled the permits invalid. However, the Intermediate Court of Appeals earlier this year overturned the ruling.

In between, the state Legislature allowed A&B — and revocable permit holders — to continue the practice of obtaining annual permits from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources through 2019. The state Legislature this past session chose not to renew the permit practice in a contentious decision-making process.

A&B’s current permit ends in December and the company’s actions regarding a renewal have been closely watched, particularly by Upcountry water users, because the county water department draws from the EMI system, and Mahi Pono, which has begun its agricultural ventures….

In June, a state Intermediate Court of Appeals decision opened the door to revocable permit applications once again. It vacated a 2016 1st Circuit Court judgment in favor of East Maui taro farmers and native practitioners and sent the case back to the lower court.

In the case Carmichael vs. BLNR and Alexander & Baldwin, the plaintiffs challenged month-to-month water permits granted by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to A&B in 2000 that were annually renewed. The plaintiffs, represented by Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., argued that the permits, which allowed A&B to take the main flow of water from streams on state land, were a blank check without environmental reviews and not in keeping with rules for temporary permits.

In 2016, Oahu Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Nishimura ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, saying that the annual rollover of permits for 13 years was not temporary and thus in violation of the law for holdover permits.

Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. has said it will appeal the decision.

In the meantime, the state can continue to issue revocable permits as it has done prior to the ruling.

Mahi Pono did not answer questions Wednesday about how much water it will need for its agricultural operations. Officials did say that 8,000 gallons of water per acre per day will be needed for its first crop, red and yellow potatoes, on 40 acres in Central Maui.

The county advisory Board of Water Supply has established an investigative group to look into the county possibly purchasing the EMI diversion system or other options so that county water would not be tied up in legal disputes.

read … A&B to apply for permit to continue to take water from E. Maui

Under proposal, schools would treat bullying as a major offense on par with assault

HNN: The Board of Education last week approved new rules that would elevate bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment to Class A offenses, like assault, burglary and illicit drug use.

The revised discipline code, which still needs approval from Gov. David Ige, also says school investigations must be completed within five days and action taken as soon as possible.

The punishment depends on the principal….

If the governor accepts the new rules, they would go into effect on Jan. 1….

Sgt. Chris Kim, of Honolulu CrimeStoppers, says deterring bullying in schools takes a community effort and a proactive approach.

"Gone are the days where you can just consider it horse play," said Kim. "We have to start taking things seriously. It's getting out of hand."

Kim says 56 schools are participating in the Student CrimeStoppers program….

Feb 2019: BoE Announces Transsexual Bullying Policy--How Many HSTA Members Will be Fired?

read …  Under proposal, schools would treat bullying as a major offense on par with assault

Immigrants face loss of welfare and food stamps

MN: … Dubbed the “public charge” rule, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy would prevent legal immigrants from obtaining green cards or permanent residency if they use or plan to use federal, state and even local public benefit programs, such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing subsidies. The rule was approved this month and would start Oct. 15.

The rule’s effects would be far-reaching, especially in the melting pot of Hawaii, where nearly 1 in 5 Hawaii residents is an immigrant and more than 1 in 7 is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent, according to the American Immigration Council….

The more than 200-page amendment to U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations details how the department will determine whether someone applying for admission or adjustment of status will be ineligible because he or she is likely to become a “public charge.”….

read … Maui immigrants face loss of welfare and food stamps

Manslaughter: Mainland Homeless Drug Addict Guilty on All Counts—Could Get Life Sentence

TGI: … A Fifth Circuit Court jury found Cody Safadago guilty on all counts Friday.

Prosecutors spent the last two weeks proving that Safadago, 48, was responsible for the death of Kayla Huddy-Lemn, a 19-year-old Kapaa woman he killed in 2017, after getting drunk, stealing a truck and driving it at 88 miles an hour head-on into oncoming traffic.

Safadago, a former resident of Washington state, was convicted on felony charges for manslaughter, negligent homicide, causing a fatal accident and car theft, as well as five misdemeanors — resisting arrest, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, inattention to driving and driving without a valid license.

The jury will decide next week whether Safadago can be sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter. The crime normally carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail, but due to the nature of the crimes and Safadago’s prior felony convictions, prosecutors are seeking extended terms of imprisonment on three counts: manslaughter, first-degree negligent homicide and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle….

read … Guilty on all counts

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