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Thursday, February 06, 2020
February 6, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:57 PM :: 1587 Views

Survey: Ige Least Popular Governor in USA

Lawsuit: Plastic Hysteria is Excuse for Feds to Take Control of Hawaii Waterways

Hawaii Mixed Scores on Dental Care

DoE Funds HSTA Pay Hike Propaganda 'Study'

SB2488 Passes EDU--Would Fund $40M HSTA Cash Giveaway

HTH: … The current draft of Senate Bill 2488 would authorize a onetime $25 million appropriation from the state’s general revenues to fund discretionary teacher salary adjustments as part of an “experimental modernization project” tackling teacher pay equity issues, pay differentials for certain teachers, or both….

Both the DOE and the Hawaii State Teachers Association supported SB 2488 in written testimony submitted before a Wednesday public hearing of the Senate Committee on Education.

State Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said in written testimony that the DOE will need $10.2 million in fiscal year 2020 and $30.7 million in fiscal year 2021 to implement the first phase.

“We believe the full amount is needed in order to address the issue of providing …uh… equity …yeah, that’s the word, equity … within our public schools,” she wrote….

SA: Hawaii teacher pay hike passes first hurdle in Senate

(Bill passed EDU 3-0 with 2 absent.)

SB2488: Text, Status

read … Hawaii Senate bill aims to bolster teachers’ pay

SB42: Trying to restrict Hawaii AG

SA: … The nonprofit Kahea, a Thirty Meter Telescope opponent, has objected to an Attorney General’s Office subpoena of its records as intimidation after a financial filing deadline was missed. The AG counters that it has the duty to see that nonprofits comply with the law.

Now there’s Senate Bill 42 to bar investigations of persons “in which it’s clear that the person is exercising rights by nonviolent civil disobedience.”

What’s unclear is how any bill can be worded to avoid wrongly tying the AG’s hands…

CB: Watson Terrified that AG Might Find Something 

Related: SB42: Block AG's Investigation of Telescope Protesters Funding.

read … Trying to restrict Hawaii AG

Streamlining plan will require 38,000 Neighbor Island patients to find new health insurance

HNN: … HMSA and United Healthcare won the Neighbor Island contracts. Kaiser and AlohaCare were left out and AlohaCare has since filed a protest that has frozen the award.

“We don’t understand how the proposal was scored and more importantly we are uplifting community voices that have approached us with concerns with the impact," said Laura Esslinger, AlohaCare’s CEO.

While AlohaCare filed the bid protest, the state’s decision also affects 10,000 Kaiser patients on Maui who are on Medicaid.

“Together AlohaCare and Kaiser serve half the Quest eligible individuals on Maui, 60 percent on Molokai and Lanai and closer to 20 percent on the Big Island," said Esslinger, whose company teamed up with Kaiser on its unsuccessful bid.

Those patients may have to find a new insurer. The state now has 30 days to grant or reject AlohaCare’s bid protest….

(HGEA retaliation for Kaiser take over of Maui Memorial?)

MN: Medicaid patients in Maui County may see plan change

CB: Neighbor Island Clinics Worry About Fewer Medicaid Options

read … Streamlining plan will require 38,000 Neighbor Island patients to find new health insurance

Caldwell’s Storm Water Tax Hike Meetings Scheduled to Reduce Participation

SA: … Question: I am calling about the stormwater fee community meetings that they started holding this week. So far, they’re all scheduled from 5 to 7:30 p.m. I live in Ewa Beach. I work in town. I don’t get home until 5:30 or 6 o’clock at the earliest. I am wondering if they could have some meetings later on the West Side, starting at 6:30 or 7 p.m.?

Answer: Kokua Line has received similar suggestions or complaints from multiple readers, who urged the city to take working people’s commutes into consideration when scheduling community meetings about a stormwater utility fee proposed for Oahu. Not all these “auwes” came from the West Side; a few East Siders complained that 5 p.m. was too early for them to make it to Kaiser or Kalani high schools, where public meetings were scheduled Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

We offered readers’ feedback to the city, and heard back from Ross Sasamura, director and chief engineer of the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance. That department’s Storm Water Quality Branch is overseeing the potential of establishing a fee paid by all Oahu property owners to manage storm runoff.

Sasamura said schedulers did consider commuters’ time constraints….

Related: Honolulu Stormwater Costs 400% of US Average

read … Tax Hike Coming

Enviro Admits Congestion Pricing is Designed to Force the Little People out of their Cars 

CB: … A Hawaii school friend in London tells me his family doesn’t need a car at all; they get around easily on buses, the subway, and on foot. Thanks to revenue from de-congestion pricing, public transportation has the funding it needs to run reliably and quickly….

A lot of people can’t afford cars. Many seniors and people with disabilities cannot drive. Kids can’t drive. The system is already unfair to the folks who have the hardest time getting around. We see this with the epidemic of pedestrian deaths: the most vulnerable are most at risk.

The study the mayors requested can help find solutions. How do we make our streets work for everyone, from seniors to keiki? How do we make sure our transportation supports clean air and a livable future?…

(Translation: We intend to get you out of your car.)

read … A Proposal To Clear Up Traffic And Clean The Air

Trump Taking Away Hawaii Activists Primary Obstruction Tool

CB: …The H-3 Interstate was the first project in Hawaii to be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act….

Numerous studies were conducted over the course of 20 years, and the highway was rerouted several times to avoid sensitive habitats and Native Hawaiian cultural sites, such as burial grounds and the remains of terraced fields that once grew taro.

Eventually, U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye stepped in and convinced Congress to pass a bill to exempt the project from further environmental review.

By the time H-3 opened in December 1997, it was 25 years behind schedule and its $1.3 billion price tag was more than five times the original estimate of $250 million.

Honolulu’s $9 billion rail project is another example of a local transportation project forced to comply with NEPA.

Like H-3, the review process allowed for rigorous scrutiny of the largest public works project in Hawaii history.

It also opened the door for legal challenges, both at the state and federal level, that temporarily halted construction and forced officials to account for Native Hawaiian burials.

Year after year, the federal government, through NEPA, has been forced to modify its actions or change course to quell public concerns.

In 2009, a group of citizens forced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reconsider its decision to approve a Hawaii company’s plans to build a fruit irradiator near the Honolulu airport.

The concern at the time was that the facility, which used dangerous radioactive materials to kill fruit flies, was located near a highly populated area that was prone to plane crashes and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

After following the NEPA process, which involved studying alternative locations, the company was approved to build its irradiator in Kunia, far from Oahu’s population centers.

When the U.S. Army decided to bring a Stryker brigade to Oahu in 2005, there was little analysis about whether Hawaii was the right place to station 300 heavily armored vehicles, each one weighing nearly 20 tons.

Critics worried that the vehicles, which needed to be shipped back and forth from Oahu to the Big Island for training, would ruin cultural sites, destroy native forests and kill endangered species. They also asked, “Why Hawaii?”…

read … Mongoose is the Excuse

FAA Warns State -- Plan to vacate Dillingham Airfield is Illegal

KHON: … Always Investigating found out the state Department of Transportation has told the U.S. Army it intends to vacate, leaving aviators wondering what’s next.

The state DOT leased and ran Dillingham Airfield for nearly 50 years and has just recently told the feds they want out within months

The airfield on Oahu’s North Shore is home to Hawaii aviation ranging from skydiving companies to commercial and private planes, flight schools, gliders and ultralights.

“This is the only sailplane port in all of Hawaii,” says pilot John Sequeira.

The airfield is owned by the Army, but the state has operated it under lease since 1972. The state’s current lease runs through 2024. Always Investigating confirmed the U.S. Army unexpected news from the DOT on Jan. 23.

“The U.S. Army recently received a letter from the Hawaii Department of Transportation announcing the State’s intent to exercise its right to terminate the lease early and vacate Dillingham Airfield by June 30, 2020,” a U.S. Army Hawaii spokesperson told KHON2.

“To my knowledge this has been very short notice,” said Sen. Gil Riviere, (D) District 2, who represents the area. “I don’t believe the Army or the FAA were expecting this. I think it caught them by surprise.”

It also surprised the owners of the nearly 50 civilian aircraft and multiple businesses onsite; together they account for 36,000 civilian aircraft operations annually at the airfield, according to the FAA. Tenants tell KHON2 they have heard nothing formal from their state DOT landlord….

KHON2 asked, could a private entity, a nonprofit or a third-party manager take over?

“It’s hard to say. There are airfields that probably could be operated by some sort of co-op, but you can’t do that with no notice,” Riviere said.

The U.S. Army spokesperson told KHON2 they are “now analyzing the possible impacts resulting from the state’s early termination notice, to determine the way forward.”…

The FAA meanwhile has told the state in writing that federal grants they gave the state make the DOT obligated to stay at least through 2025. The FAA says they want civilian access maintained and warns the state against discriminating based on kinds of airport activities….

Related? Naming Names: Meet the Political Insiders Behind Eviction of Barbers Point Air Museum

read … State wants to vacate Dillingham Airfield as soon as this Summer

Hawaii County – Plan was to Transfer Your GE Tax Hike Money Directly to Political Insider 

HTH: … An administration plan to fast-track a bus depot for Puna by buying land from a politically connected property owner has been derailed by the discovery that the property doesn’t have the environmental clearances the county thought it had.

The County Council last month delayed Bill 131, which would have shifted $1.45 million of general excise tax money into a Mass Transit Agency account in order to purchase 1.45 acres at the intersection of Pahoa Bypass Road and Kapoho Road for $900,000….

The property is owned by Gilbert Aguinaldo, a member of the Windward Planning Commission and a distant relative of Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz. Kierkiewicz refers to him as “my uncle,” but the relationship is too distant to violate any county rules.

(Step One: Raise your taxes.  Step Two: Transfer the money to ‘my uncle’.  Any questions?)

“I had believed that the environmental assessment had been done,” Mass Transit Administrator Brenda Carreira told the council Wednesday.

The council voted 9-0 to move the money, with the understanding that it’s not tied to a specific parcel. Instead, the county will begin the six-to-nine-month EA process, a procedure that will include analysis of alternative sites and a 30-day public input window.

In the meantime, the county is evaluating a temporary site, with the Aguinaldo site (Site 6) and Pahoa regional park (Site 5) as the top candidates….  (Translation: This isn’t over yet.)

read … Council moves GET money for Puna bus depot

HECO Gives $222K of Ratepayer Money to Solar Scammers – For Nothing!

MN: … Hawaiian Electric compensated two Maui solar farms a total of $222,000 for curtailing, or not accepting, 2 gigawatt hours of solar power in 2019, according to filings with the state Public Utilities Commission last month….

For the Ku`ia Solar project, located near Lahainaluna High, the utility made a $112,000.81 payment to SSA Solar of HI 2 LLC for compensable curtailed energy of 1.0127 GWh in 2019, the filing said.

South Maui Renewable Resources, which is in the vicinity of the Maui Research & Technology Park, received $109,935.85 from the utility for 994 megawatt hours of curtailment; the payment was made to SSA Solar of HI 3 LLC.

Payments to both solar projects were reduced in 2019 by penalties incurred from delays in starting up the projects. For the West Maui project, the curtailment costs were offset by $187,077.20 in delay penalties and $111,205.74 for the South Maui project.

Both 2.87-megawatt systems were scheduled to come online Dec. 31, 2016. The West Maui system began operating in October 2018; the South Maui project, the island’s first utility-scale solar project, came online in May 2018.

Both photovoltaic projects are operated by Kenyon Energy and are paid 11.06 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy fed into Hawaiian Electric’s Maui grid,…

In explaining the curtailment, the utility said that the large amount of noncontrollable rooftop solar, more than 110 MW, contributes to the curtailment of grid-scale renewable power during daytime hours. The two solar projects are the first to be curtailed based on when they came online.  (One solar scam justifies payments to another solar scam)

Hawaiian Electric said it should be able to recover the curtailment costs from customers….

read … Utility pays solar projects $222K

Will Female Athlete be Allowed to Question Trannies?

SA: … Last year, preparing to compete at a World Masters Athletics meet in Spain, I did what any truly competitive athlete would do: I researched my competition. In doing so, I learned that one of those I’d be running against had been sentenced, per regulations, to five years for doping, served that time, and was now eligible to run again.

A second competitor, I learned, was a male-to-female transgender athlete. Both WMA and USA Track and Field have regulations related to that, too, but they’re less precise and more vaguely enforced. I made inquiries about that, and was told I’d get answers.

That was a year, four months, and several races ago, and I still have no answers. What I do have are a lot more questions.

Was this person I ran against in Spain even eligible to compete? No one could or would tell me. How can officials conduct a track meet with no enforcement or knowledge of their own rules? Even the head referee at the Spain event suggested I file a formal complaint. I did. Nothing came of that either.

I was warned that, for my own safety, I should keep my mouth shut. I was widely derided as “transphobic,” simply for asking the same questions that were being asked in other sports and — increasingly — in courts of law. A psychologist on social media told me my questions were just my way of rationalizing my loss to a transgender athlete.

The thing is, I actually won. Twice….

Current guidelines wishfully suggest that male-to-female transgender athletes will not take accolades from female-sex athletes. Tell that to the Connecticut female-sex high school athletes who have given up 15 state titles to transgender opponents. Or to the Masters cyclists who keep losing the gold. Or to Doriane Coleman, a Duke University law professor, who recently testified before Congress that the year Sanya Richards Ross ran 48.7 seconds in the 400 meters to become the fastest woman in American history, thousands of males ages 16-33 could have beaten her.

Thousands. Yet it takes only three to knock female-sex athletes off the awards podium … and only eight to keep them off the track completely….

We have worked so hard since Title IX for female equality in sports — too hard to allow male-sex athletes to enter the female divisions and win only because of their natural physical advantage.

read … Bring compassion to competition, clarify transgender rules

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