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Friday, November 22, 2019
November 22, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:25 PM :: 890 Views

Trustee Akina Calls on OHA Board to Reject Unsubstantiated Allegations

OHA names Sylvia Hussey as new Chief Executive Officer

14 Weeks on Mauna Kea: 6,912 Tickets, 66 arrests

UH Regents Seek Nominees for Two Positions

Monsanto Fined $10 Million in Plea Deal Over Use of Banned Pesticide     

More HART Employees Hit With Federal Subpoenas—Agency Kept Secret for Month

CB: … As their criminal probe involving rail widens, federal authorities have served more subpoenas to Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation employees.

The latest batch of orders, seeking interviews with employees, was served directly to HART’s Alii Place headquarters approximately a month ago, according to Andrew Robbins, the agency’s executive director.

It’s still not clear how many employees received subpoenas.

“I don’t remember the exact number,” Robbins said Thursday. He added that he’s not sure whether any other employees of the agency received subpoenas and haven’t informed HART….

SA:  Honolulu rail authority budgets $200,000 to help employees cope with federal subpoenas 

KITV: Feds widen criminal probe into Honolulu's $9 billion commuter train project

read … More HART Employees Hit With Federal Subpoenas

Honolulu’s acting prosecutor spends hours testifying in federal probe

HNN: … Acting Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto walked into the federal courthouse just after one o’clock Thursday afternoon.

Nadamoto was summoned to the grand jury investigating public corruption.

He did not leave until after four o’clock, more than three hours later.

When Hawaii News Now mentioned the lengthy appearance, Nadamoto’s response, “Lots of questions."

He would not detail the questions, refusing to say if they were centered around the Honolulu prosecutor’s office or the prosecutor himself, Keith Kaneshiro….

Thursday was Nadamoto’s first grand jury appearance connected to the federal probe. Dozens connected to his office have already been summoned, some, multiple times.

Nadamoto admitted that this won’t be his last time testifying, the feds have already told him he will need to return but Nadamoto wouldn’t say if a date for that next appearance was set….

SA: Honolulu Acting Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto appears before grand jury for 3 hours

read … Honolulu’s acting prosecutor spends hours testifying in federal probe

Honolulu May Sue Convicted Police Chief To Pretend to Claw Back Retirement Money

CB: … When the Honolulu Police Commission let Louis Kealoha walk into retirement in 2017 with a $250,000 severance package, it made him promise to give the money back if he were convicted of a felony within six years….

(And some people actually believed that promise had value.  LOL!)

Now the Honolulu City Council will decide whether to take Kealoha to court to (pretend to) recoup the funds. Introduced by Councilman Ron Menor, Resolution 19-315 would allow the city to “initiate legal action.”

The city sent a letter to Kealoha on Oct. 23 – the day after his guilty plea – demanding repayment of the funds, the resolution states. But Kealoha hasn’t responded.

“The Corporation Counsel is informed and believes that it is necessary to bring legal action(s) against Kealoha to enforce the repayment agreement provisions of the retirement agreement,” the resolution states.

Council members already unanimously approved the resolution in an Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting last week…

read … Sue Sue Sue you will never get a dime

It’s Time To Hold TMT Protesters Accountable

CB: …outside the view of the video cameras (except for the panel discussions run by Imua TMT) there are many meetings happening to discuss what’s next….

who are the protesters? Who is backing them? Who are their leaders? Who are the decision-makers? Which of those leaders and backers has the deep pockets required to pay the taxpayers back?

One way to answer these questions is to sue the protesters directly and find the answers through discovery in court. Another way is for the Legislature to begin issuing subpoenas. This course of action should begin as soon as possible….

The protests are morphing from what may have been a legitimate exercise in civil disobedience into an anarchic campaign against the rule of law. ..

It is time to seek restitution from the persons most responsible for perpetuating this criminality. It is time for the Legislature to start investigating the protesters and creating disincentives for such anarchism….

Background: Tents, Trash, and Toilets: OHA Funds Make Mauna Kea Protests Possible

read … It’s Time To Hold TMT Protesters Accountable

Decade of Activist Attacks Destroys 60% of Seed Industry

CB: … Seed grain, mostly corn, has emerged as Hawaii’s top cash crop after the demise of the state’s pineapple and sugar industries (finished off by anti-cane smoke activists). But the value of the seed industry has dropped sharply in recent years, and the trend continues….

According to the USDA, the value of Hawaii’s seed industry is estimated at $106 million for the 2018-19 season. That’s a 13 percent drop from the previous year – and a 56 percent decline from 2011, when the industry’s value peaked at $241.6 million.

Shipments of seeds from the have dropped steeply to about 4.8 million this year from a high of 12 million pounds in 2009-10….

Background: Activist Attacks Destroy Another 17% of Hawaii Seed Industry Acreage 

More Background: Activist Attacks Destroy 15% of Hawaii Agriculture

read … Seed Industry Is Shrinking Dramatically But It Still Grows Hawaii’s No. 1 Crop

Tourism Industry Grabs for ML&P Water

MN: … The decision comes in the wake of a water-wasting complaint filed with the water commission in April by Maui attorney Lance Collins, who is representing two groups, Ka Malu o Kahalawai and West Maui Preservation Association, comprising West Maui taro farmers, environmentalists and families.

(Translation: Tourism industry facilities want ag water for themselves.)

The complaint alleges that three companies — Maui Land & Pineapple Co., its subsidiary Kapalua Water Co. and Kaanapali Land Management Corp. — are wasting water from Honokohau Stream, which is approximately 11 miles long, starts high in the West Maui Mountains and empties into Honokohau Bay.

The companies failed to properly maintain infrastructure and surrounding land that diverts water from the stream, the complaint says. Because of this, water that could be used by valley residents is being mismanaged and dumped….

Nonstream uses of Honokohau Stream goes to Kapalua golf courses (about 0.9 million gallons per day); Kapalua resorts (about 1 mgd); other uses such as agriculture, cemetery and Napili gardens irrigation (about 0.2 mgd); and county Department of Water Supply (about 2.5 mgd). The total current demand is approximately 4.6 mgd….

In a water commission staff report Wednesday, a timeline noted flooding conditions in fall 2018 that damaged diversions and that ML&P lost its Honokohau Ditch manager around the same time….

read … ML&P ordered to curb water waste

Bans On Plastic Bags, Containers Are No Panacea

CB: … As the city considers tougher plastic bag restrictions and a ban on Styrofoam food containers, they shouldn’t downplay the cost of the plan for small businesses….

read … Bans On Plastic Bags, Containers Are No Panacea

Hawaii Prison Operating at only 80% Occupancy

HNN: … Halawa Correctional Facility is the state’s largest prison.

It can hold 1,124 inmates.

Unlike several other correctional facilities around the state, Halawa does not have a problem with overcrowding.

Current capacity is 897. 

(Idea: Sentence more criminals to prison.)

Two inmates are assigned to every cell and every inmate has a bed.

"If they're not here, they go to school, they go to work, they go eat," said Acting Chief of Security Calvin Mock Jr.

Inmates who qualify have jobs at the facility….

The facility is in the process of undergoing major security upgrades.

Work to replace the prison’s faulty locking system in the medium security housing wing has been completed.

About 250 inmates who were transferred to the mainland while work was being done were brought back on Tuesday.

In addition to the new electronic security locking system, the upgrade included new cameras.

“Cameras all over the place. It helps them, it helps us. You would be surprised how many inmates write me a note, ‘please check the camera on this date at this time for this incident,’” said Mock Jr….

read …  Hawaii’s largest prison doesn’t have an overcrowding issue — but that doesn’t mean it’s free of any others

Aloha Stadium: Latest Trick, Let Water Pumps Fail so People will Clamor for New Stadiums

SA: … Aloha Stadium is experiencing problems with some of its aging water pumps and water pressure at upper level concourse faucets and restrooms, which could be affected during peak periods for several weeks, the Stadium Authority was told today.

Stadium manager Scott Chan said replacement parts have been ordered but the current pumps in the 45-year-old facility are so obsolete that new fixtures have to be specially fabricated and transported here. 

(IQ Test: Do you believe this is evidence that a new stadium is needed?)

The cost for replacing and installing them is expected to run $80,000 to $100,000, Chan estimated….

read … Aloha Stadium’s aging water pumps could affect visitors using restrooms and faucets during peak times

Big Island: More Bus System Bungling

HTH: … The County Council on Oct. 2 approved a resolution giving Mass Transit the go-ahead for a three-year contract, combining the regular county routes with fill-in buses as needed. Roberts Tours and Transportation Inc. was declared the winning bidder Oct. 10 but the contract was later withdrawn.

The new request for proposals will be handled by the Finance Department instead of Mass Transit, and a new evaluation panel will be selected to evaluate the bids. None of the information on the original bids, including the prices, were disclosed, said Purchasing Specialist Steve Wilhelm in a Nov. 5 letter to bid respondents.

Wilhelm said a faulty spreadsheet, discovered by the Purchasing Department, was the culprit in the need to rebid.

“This spreadsheet contained several errors in rates and utilized assumptions that were not disclosed in the RFP,” Wilhelm said in the letter. “RFP 3712 was cancelled in the best interest of the county and to preserve the fairness and open competitiveness for the proposers.” …

The delay means the county will continue spending taxpayer money on an expensive alternative to a comprehensive contract.

During the last fiscal year, the regular bus driver contract paid the privately owned PolyAd tour company $2.86 million, compared to $5.22 million more for the fill-in buses, according to the county Finance Department. Roberts was paid $1.36 million for fill-in buses during the same period, bringing total emergency fill-in bus contracts to $6.58 million.

In comparison, the entire Mass Transit budget that year was $15.7 million. New buses run from $300,000 to $600,000 each….

It probably won’t result in wheels on the ground until “Aprilish,”…

read … More delays for Hele-On contract

Kapolei residents raise concerns over development as rail is poised to roll

HNN: … Construction on the city’s rail project began in East Kapolei after ground was broken in 2011. Now, the city has to update its Transit Oriented Development plan, because a lot of growth has happened in the area since then.

The city’s original draft was completed nearly a decade ago, in 2010. There wasn’t much around at the time….

Now, the transformation is underway, nearly everywhere you look. The Kroc Center is thriving with 12,000 members; the rail’s starting point, the East Kapolei Station, is right next door. Ka Makana Alii is just down Kaluakai Parkway, on Hawaiian Homes Land. U.H. West Oahu is in its seventh year on its Kapolei campus, with plans to expand. And 600 families have already moved into D.R. Horton’s Hoopili community, which is still under construction.

None of those developments was in the original T.O.D. draft, so the city is now getting input on an updated plan.

“It’s a chance to really develop a new community, based on the character and Hawaiian values and that sort of stuff,” said the Harrison Rue, the city’s T.O.D. administrator. "It kinda aligns with Kapolei, the Second City vision."

One big question asked of residents was how high to build. The city asked if 20-story buildings would be okay for the area, but most residents preferred nine stories or less….

read … Kapolei residents raise concerns over development as rail is poised to roll

NYC Shipped Homeless ‘Lifelong NYer’ to Kalihi Aug 21

HNN: … “I got here August 21,” said Tiffany, who asked only to be identified by her first name. “I thought OK. My life over there’s done. I’m starting a new life here.”

The 30-year-old and her kids spent two years in a NYC homeless shelter. Despite working a full time job, the lifelong New Yorker could never find a place in the city she could actually afford.

“I got a city FHEPS voucher to try to find an apartment in New York. But the amount of the voucher and the rent in New York just didn’t coincide,” she said….

“My cousin, he lives out here. He’s ex-military,” said Tiffany. “He’s also the godfather of my kids.”…

“My income has to be 50% of the rent in order for them to say OK,” said Tiffany….

…11% of our homeless population does come from the mainland….

read … A NYC homeless program relocated this family to Hawaii. It wasn’t easy or quick

Sexually Transmitted Infections On The Rise In Hawaii

CB: … Nearly 8,000 cases of chlamydia were reported in Hawaii last year, compared to almost 6,000 cases a decade ago, according to the Department of Health STI Surveillance team. The 2018 rate of chlamydia in Hawaii was 542 people per 100,000, placing it on the higher end of the national spectrum….

Gonorrhea, the second most prevalent STI in Hawaii, is treatable in most cases, but when untreated it can cause irreversible harm. The number of cases reported rose more than two-fold from 611 cases in 2009 to 1,496 last year.

The national ‘comeback’ of syphilis is also of great concern among health officials.

Syphilis rates in Hawaii remain much lower than other states, but reported cases of early syphilis in Hawaii have risen steadily up to 180 cases last year, which is nearly three times the rate per capita it was a decade ago. This steep incline comes after the disease was nearly eradicated in the 1990s.

Herpes — another common STI that affects one in six people between the ages of 14 and 49 — is not classified as a “notifiable disease” by federal health agency and therefore any increase in its prevalence is not tracked by DOH….

read … Sexually Transmitted Infections On The Rise In Hawaii

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