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Wednesday, January 08, 2020
January 8, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:26 PM :: 1001 Views

Crooks Cry Racism: Debunking OHA’s Audit Excuses

Former HUD employee sentenced to 66 months in prison for fraud and identity theft

Hawaii Attorney General Approves Asset Forfeiture Rules

Insider Helps Astronomers Learn How to make Payoffs to Hawaiian Community Leaders

IM: …Amy Kalili (‘Ōiwi TV), indigenous language advocate, introduced a perspective on the stewardship of Mauna Kea rooted in the language and culture of Hawaiian communities.

Her task today was not to definitively give an answer to the conflict surrounding astronomy on the mauna, but to prompt new thoughts and discussions between the stakeholders involved.

Kalili introduced the idea of “‘imi pono” (seeking in a beneficial manner) vs. “pono ‘imi” (doing something just to get it done), applying this concept to the interactions between astronomers and the Hawaiian communities.

We need to consider if the 13 telescopes on Mauna Kea are ‘imi pono or pono ‘imi, and what direct benefits our science and discoveries have to the surrounding communities and those outside of astronomy.

She also stresses that this is not a debate on science versus culture; though there have been misconceptions and misrepresentations of Hawaiian views on science, she explains that “we as Hawaiians embrace and embody ‘imi,” such as through the art of celestial navigation and kilo hōkū (observing the stars). 

Hawaiians and astronomers have “a common aloha for the art and science of astronomy”, but the threshold for what science is “worth it” differs based on context and kuana’ike (perspective).

Looking forward, her major takeaway is that there is a significant need for greater pilina (relationship building) and ho’oka’a’ike (communication). Pilina is a requisite to build trust, and it takes “time, energy, sincerity, and long-term commitment.”

However, it doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, just that we need to engage with respect. Ho’oka’a’ike engages multiple audiences and voices, especially those that previously may not have had a seat at the table, and prioritizes ho’olohe (listening) over wala’au (talking).

Kalili’s question for those attending this meeting is this: How can we, as astronomers/experts in the field, contribute to pilina, ho’oka’a’ike, and kālailai (analysis/assessment) with regards to the mauna and the Hawaiian community?

She emphasizes that this is not a one time conversation — this discussion needs to be ongoing and dynamic as situations and communities evolve.

These principles also apply not only to the current situation surrounding the Thirty Meter Telescope and Mauna Kea, but also more generally to interactions with indigenous communities….

IM: 

2015: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

Amy Kalihi, 2016: Documents Reveal Waihee Hustles Indians for $2M 

read … Reflections on the American Astronomical Society Conference

Stand-down counts as a victory for Mauna Kea ‘protectors’

Cataluna: … any sort of de-escalation from the standoff should be considered forward movement at this point.

The movement, however, is not in the direction of building the telescope.

At a news conference last week to discuss the partial stand-down, kupuna Noe Noe Wong-Wilson emphasized that the commitment to protect the mountain hasn’t changed. “We are winning this, guys. We are winning this,” she said.

They are.

TMT blew past a deadline to begin construction in September, and though Gov. David Ige gave them a long extension on the permit, the telescope consortium has used that time to secure building approval at an alternate site in the Canary Islands. They keep saying that Mauna Kea is their preferred site, but they’re busy working to get ready for Plan B….

Kim’s temporary stand-down may be the beginning of the end….

read …  Stand-down counts as a victory for Mauna Kea ‘protectors’

TMT: ‘Wish COUNTY Can Find a Way Through’

KITV: … "That old phrase, sending my best thought and wishes to the county that they can find a way through this. Very complicated issue that is so much broader than TMT," Dawson commented….

(Clue: Hawaii County Mayoral election in 2020.)

FB: Telescope Supporters at Astronomy Conference

HPR: The Conversation: Teaching Tomorrow's Astronomers

read … Stalled TMT construction a topic as astronomy conference

Property buyouts mulled: Hawaii County will use HUD funds to purchase land from those wanting to leave areas impacted by eruption

HTH: … Voluntary housing buyouts will be a priority for a portion of federal funding the county is set to receive for recovery efforts related to the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano in lower Puna.

The funding for the proposed effort will come from $83.84 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds the county will get from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development….

In a buyout, a local jurisdiction, in this case the county, would buy property from individual property owners in the impacted areas. The property would not be developed after the purchase, Le said in an interview following his committee update.

“For buyout, the policy goal is to kind of get folks out of harm’s way, whether it be a flood, a wildfire risk or, in this case, a volcanic risk, and so it would be kind of open space moving forward,” he said. “We wouldn’t resell it. We wouldn’t allow future development on that parcel.”….

(This will shift the supply-demand balance thus driving land costs higher by reducing the availability of lots.)

What They’re NOT doing: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3  (This would have maintained the supply-demand balance and kept land prices low on the East side of the Big Island.  The HUD money could have paid for improvements.)

Meanwhile: Audit sought for Hawaii County subdivision, zoning statutes

Meanwhile: Making housing affordable: Council panel advances resolution to pretend to reach solution

read … Property buyouts mulled: County will use HUD funds to purchase land from those wanting to leave areas impacted by eruption

Tourism Industry, Billionaire Snowbirds Pushing to halt all aquarium fishing

TGI: … Environmental law firm Earthjustice, representing entities like For the Fishes, (Kona coast billionaires) Willie & Ka‘imi Kaupiko, Mike Nakachi, (hysterical dive-tour operators) and Center for Biological Diversity, sent a letter to DLNR Tuesday warning of another potential lawsuit should they continue issuing permits….

read … Pushing to halt all aquarium fishing

Hawaiʻi’s Future Liabilities are Expected to Cost $88 Billion

HB: … $88 Billion is the estimated liabilities for state and local governments over the next 30 years on infrastructure, pensions and climate change. We explore three broad options to pay these liabilities: increase government revenues, reduce government spending and grow the economy.

Hawai‘i is in a deep financial pit. Projects to mitigate climate change, improve infrastructure and meet public employee pension and retiree health care obligations are expected to cost the state and four county governments over $88 billion over the next 30 years, according to a report called “Troubled Waters: Charting a New Fiscal Course for Hawaii,” produced for the Hawai‘i Executive Conference.

That cost exceeds Hawai‘i’s 2018 real GDP of $80.8 billion and is five times larger than the state government’s operating and capital improvements program budgets for fiscal year 2019-2020.

“We need to sound the alarm,” says Keli‘i Akina, president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii….

Background: How to Avoid ‘Troubled Waters’

read … Hawaiʻi’s Future Liabilities are Expected to Cost $88 Billion

Get Ready For An Economic Slowdown, State Economist Says

CB: … Hawaii must cope with a third straight year of population decline and a shrinking labor force while looking at a slowing economy in the coming years….

“Our economy is going into a slow growth period, but we’re not in a recession yet,” Tian told a panel of legislators Tuesday.

Tian’s presentation to the Legislature’s money committees was a round up of the dark clouds looming on Hawaii’s economic horizon. The building industry, one of Hawaii’s largest industries, is expected to see a downturn. Visitors coming to Hawaii are expected to increase, but spending will stay flat. And growth is slowing in tourists coming from other countries, Tian said ….

read … Get Ready For An Economic Slowdown, State Economist Says

If you’re not rich or if your parents aren’t well connected, the Hawaii you live in is different

HLB: … Julian Morimoto ’21 was born and raised in Honolulu, where he shared a two-bedroom apartment with nine family members including his mother, a waitress, and his stepfather, a cook. He sometimes studied in the stairwell because there was no other space, and the neighborhood could be violent. “A lot of people have the impression that Hawaii is this really magical place, but if you’re not rich or if your parents aren’t well connected, the Hawaii you live in is different,” says Morimoto….

read … Harvard Law Bulletin

Four Mayoral Candidates Raising Money

ILind: … reports of main candidates already in the 2020 race for Honolulu mayor: Keith Amemiya, Colleen Hanabusa, Ron Menor, and Kymberly Pine. Each has already held several fundraisers. In the list below, I’ve just included those held in 2019….

read … Candidates differ in providing public notice of fundraising events

Another Assistant Superintendent Retires From DOE

CB: … Another assistant superintendent in the Hawaii Department of Education has left, marking the third departure from the core leadership team within a span of six months.

Donna Lum-Kagawa, who was assistant superintendent in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, retired at the end of 2019, a spokeswoman for the DOE confirmed.

Under Hawaii Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, there are six assistant superintendents who oversee areas like curriculum, instruction, human resources, facilities and finance.

In July, Dann Carlson the assistant superintendent in charge of facilities and support services, and Amy Kunz, the DOE’s chief financial officer, stepped down from their leadership roles to take new positions outside the DOE….

read … Assistant Superintendent Retires From DOE

Will HPD release officer misconduct information to the public?

KITV: … "The city has not preferred any justification for withholding these records in their entirety. And once you remove personally identifying information such that the information is DE-identified then the rest of the record should be released so that the public understands the conduct that occurred, how it was addressed by HPD, but not within the context of perhaps a particular officer's name," said Brian Black.….

read … Will HPD release officer misconduct information to the public?

OHA Returned $2M Of Ceded Land Revenue In 2019

CB: … The Office of Hawaiian Affairs returned to the state more than $2 million owed to it from various departments that use certain ceded lands in Hawaii.

The returned funds exceeded an annual cap of $15.1 million.

The state departments are required to make $15.1 million each year to OHA, but last year they transferred $17.1 million, according to a report from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Each year, OHA returns some of that revenue from ceded lands…

read … OHA Returned $2M Of Ceded Land Revenue In 2019

Medicare Trims Payments To 8 Hawaii Hospitals due to Excessive readmissions

CB: … An analysis of federal records by Kaiser Health News shows three hospitals on the Big Island (North Hawaii Community Hospital, Hilo Medical Center, Kona Community Hospital), three hospitals on Oahu (Pali Momi Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Kuakini Medical Center) and one on Maui (Maui Memorial Medical Center) will have their payments cut by less than 1% as a penalty for a high number of patients returning to the hospital after discharge.

The annual deductions have been conducted since 2012 to incentivize hospitals to improve patient care as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare’s Readmission Reduction Program penalties are based on discharges during a prior three-year period, which means some hospitals may be hit with a penalty even if they show a year-over-year improvement in reducing readmissions. Penalties on more than 2,500 hospitals nationwide will amount to about $563 million over the course of the 2020 fiscal year which ends Oct. 31….

read … Medicare Trims Payments To 8 Hawaii Hospitals

Nearly A Quarter of Hawaii Homes Are Purchased By Out-Of-State Buyers

HPR: … Eugene Tian, chief economist for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, made the remarks during a briefing covering the state's economic forecast for 2020.

The 24% figure is based on data from the preceding decade, in which roughly 5,000 homes were sold statewide. Tian said approximately 1,000 of those were purchased by residents of other U.S. states.

Around 200, or 4% of the total, were purchased by foreign buyers.

On Oahu, non-resident purchases made up 15% of total sales, but Tian told lawmakers the share is much higher on the neighbor islands.

“The number for the neighbor islands is actually over 40%. Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island was over 40 percent,” he said….

read … Nearly A Quarter of Hawaii Homes Are Purchased By Out-Of-State Buyers

Hawaii Slips to No. 2 For Homelessness. New York Is #1

CB: … Hawaii continues to have one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation, but the Aloha State no longer holds the dubious distinction of being the absolute worst.

That title is now held by New York. Hawaii has fallen to No. 2, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.

The report is based on each state’s point-in-time count, an annual effort to capture a snapshot of all homeless individuals in the country. In Hawaii, 44.9 in every 10,000 people were experiencing homelessness in 2019, according to the report. The national average is 17 people per 10,000. New York’s rate is 46.4.

There were 6,412 homeless people counted in Hawaii in 2019, a decrease of 19% from 2016….

HPR: State Makes Progress in Helping Homeless But Experts Call For Larger Effort

KITV: Summit aims to help the estimated 15,000 homeless people in Hawaii

read … Hawaii Is No Longer No. 1 For Homelessness. New York Is Worse

Punawai Rest Stop: 1 in 200 Bums Accept Drug Treatment, 1 in 57 accept jobs, 1 in 22 accept housing

KHON: … Located on Kuwili Street, the rest stop and hygiene center has been open for a year now.

It’s a place where homeless can take a shower, store belongings, use computers even get their pets checked out by a vet.

Over the past year the city says more than 2,000 clients have used services there….

The city says over the past year, the program has helped 92 people find housing, 35 people find jobs and 10 clients have gotten into substance abuse treatment….

(Bump those numbers up by applying more force.)

read … Punawai Rest Stop homeless program recognizes one year anniversary

$6M Ohana Zones program Moves 213 Bums into Housing

KHON: … Among the successes, according to officials is the Ohana Zones program. In 2018, the legislature allotted
$30million to provide emergency shelter, services and permanent housing.

To date, about $6 million has been spent to help 639 people, a third of which were moved into permanent housing.

“If you look at data over the past four years, we see a general downward trend in homelessness,” said Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homeless. “And we also see a significant increase in placements into permanent housing.”

“We see the project as being very successful,” said Mayor Harry Kim’s executive assistant Sharon Hirota. “We are at full capacity since day one. We’ve worked with our partners in moving individuals since that time to permanent housing.”

Officials also say, the honu roving tents which launched two weeks ago have helped 55 people, and got two into permanent housing….

read … State touts Ohana Zones program for help with homeless problems

Disgusting ‘Health Food’ Store Sells Sandwich Infested with Rat Lungworm Slug

HNN: … A Big Island woman has filed a complaint with the state Health Department after she says she bit into a slug in a deli sandwich.

Chaunda Rodrigues said she bought two sandwiches from Island Naturals in Hilo last week…

The slug she sent to a lab at UH-Hilo tested positive for rat lungworm parasites and now the three of them are taking an anti-worm medication as a precaution.

“I was just like, I can’t believe this is happening to me. It was disgusting,” said Rodrigues.

“The piece that came out of my mouth was around like 1 inch, but I noticed when I took a picture that there was a second half of the slug.”

The Health Department sent an inspector and Island Naturals still has its green placard under the state’s food safety program….

read … Green Health food stores are disgusting

‘I want her back’: Mother strengthens plea amid custody battle over 11-year-old girl

HNN: … On Tuesday, a federal judge blasted state child welfare officials over the removal of the Big Island child from her mother’s custody, unbeknownst to her.

The judged ordered CPS to provide visitation rights for mother Hanna David, but stopped short of ordering the child to be permanently returned.

In a lawsuit, the mother said police and CPS took her daughter from school without a court order 18 days ago. CPS then brought the girl to her father on Kauai, even though he waived custodial rights in 2012. …

The girls father who is a firefighter on Kauai argues that David cannot provide sufficient care for their daughter…. 

HNN: Video Shows Mother Attacking Father in front of Child

read … ‘I want her back’: Mother strengthens plea amid custody battle over 11-year-old girl

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