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Friday, February 07, 2020
February 7, 2020 News Read
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Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

Trump Admin Ousts EPA Region 9 Director

Hawaii: Gun Bills Galore Moving in Legislature

Caught in Lie, Airports Division Admits it is Trying to Dump Dillingham Airfield

HB2678: House Moves Bill Forfeiting State Pension In Felony Cases

CB: … The House Committee on Labor and Public Employment on Thursday passed House Bill 2678, which requires forfeiture of a state or county officer’s or employee’s compensation and fringe benefits when they have been convicted of a felony committed in the course of their work.

The forfeiture would include compensation paid, and vacation and sick leave accrued….

Hawaii is one of only a few states that has no such law for government employees….

HB2678: Text, Status

News Release: HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL ON FORFEITURE OF STATE BENEFITS WHEN FELONY COMMITTED

Meanwhile: Sen Taniguchi Blocks HB1264 Mandating Pension forfeiture after felony

read … Bill Forfeiting Worker Benefits In Felony Cases Advances

Rail to Launch Service in December, 2020?

HNN: … City Councilmembers grilled rail officials Thursday over the progress of the 20-mile project, raising concerns about delays through Kalihi and Downtown.

But rail officials wanted them to focus on the start of the project’s interim service at the end of the year.

“The actual interim service between East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium, the target at the moment, subject to budget deliberations, would be the end of December," said Andrew Robbins, CEO for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

During a hearing of the Council’s Transportation Committee, city officials said the trains will run every 10 minutes, seven days a week, between five in the morning and 10 at night.

But Councilmembers expressed concerns about the progress of construction beyond the stadium.

Several asked why it was taking so long award a contract for a public-private partnership to build the final, four-mile downtown segment of the route, which will likely be the most expensive segment of the project.

The Federal Transit Administration is withholding the release of $100 million in construction funding pending the award of the public-private partnership contract….

Jan 30, 2020: Caldwell skeptical of HART’s promise to Help Mufi by opening Honolulu rail in October 

KITV: HART believes rail will be ready from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium in October

read … City Council grills rail officials over delays through urban core

HB2188: One Mile Setback for Wind Turbines

IM: … Jessica dos Santos wrote to the State Legislature: "I ask that you pass HB 2188 Relating To Wind Energy Facilities with ...a one-mile setback is the least the state can do to move towards safe, equitable and just implementation of its energy initiatives."

The bill is supported by Kahuku groups including the Kahuku Agricultural Park Association, Life of the Land, and Surfrider Oahu.

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO)  "prefers a setback requirement for wind turbines that is set at a ratio of the height of the turbines (an approach taken in several other states) to more appropriately provide community protections while enabling wind energy to contribute towards Hawaii’s renewable energy mandate. …

Hawaiian Electric Company submitted testimony on HB 2188: "We will need to rely on all viable technologies, including utility-scale wind projects."

"While we understand the concerns raised by some regarding the location and proximity of renewable energy projects ... legislative policies must all be aligned in the same direction and the entire state of Hawaii must work together."…

The wind turbines in Kahuku were given a City Variance to allow them to encroach on the community….

Background: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Selling Out Kahuku to Advance State Energy Goals

Sherwood Forest resolutions draw community criticism

SA: … Two recently drafted city resolutions meant to be an agreement between opposing sides of the construction project at Sherwood Forest are drawing criticism from community members.

One resolution “nullifies” most of the original Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Master Plan introduced in 2012, which included a $32 million sports complex and a 470-stall parking lot, only allowing “in some form” the completion of Phase I of the plan, a 4-acre, $1.34 million project that would have included a multipurpose field and an 11-stall parking lot.

The other would rename Sherwood Forest, also known as Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, to Hunananiho Cultural and Historical Park….

But a Jan. 27 email from Friends of Sherwood Forest — not to be confused with SOS — insisted that the city plans “to install two sports fields, put in a paved parking lot (including bus parking), and complete the oversized water infrastructure they originally planned.”

Maureen Harnisch, who is opposed to construction, said the resolutions are vague and would allow more of Phase I to be completed.

“The language is ambiguous, and it leaves room for them to do whatever they want to. … If they didn’t intend to build a sports field, why didn’t they say, ‘We don’t intend to do that’?” she said.

Harnisch is among several plaintiffs, including SOS, in an ongoing lawsuit filed against the city on Sept. 26 regarding the project. It alleges the city did not adequately address potential congestion and traffic problems in the community and also failed to recognize Sherwood Forest’s cultural importance and listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Such “ambiguous” language includes a section of a resolution that says, “Halting the Phase I … would still require installation of permanent ground cover, a water line and irrigation system, placement of topsoil, fine grading, and planting and maintenance of ground cover.”…

Amemiya said Jan. 30 that there will still be some kind of field, although it is not clear whether sports would be permitted. He also said a modified parking lot that would be more conducive to allowing cultural activities and more native plants in the park would be constructed.

At the neighborhood board meeting, he said that work would involve “bringing in a lot of soil, putting in irrigation, planting grass (and) native Hawaiian trees.”…

Though SOS has cleared a campsite at the Sherwood Forest gate that had been up for months, at least two opponents of further construction camped at the site this week….

Anderson said he found out about the meetings after they started, and when he asked the Caldwell administration that he be allowed to participate, he was denied. He said he was invited to the last meeting but was given the wrong date….

Meanwhile, another draft of the resolution to nullify the master plan, including Phase I, also removes language pertaining to irrigation and the placement of topsoil and has been sent to all City Council members, Harnisch said….

Background: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Sherwood Forest resolutions draw community criticism

State Lawmakers Are Weighing A Slate Of Bills That Affect Native Hawaiians

CB: … Sweeping reforms of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are among a number of bills lawmakers are considering this session that could affect Native Hawaiians in the state.

Some measures could give cultural practitioners better access to lands and several others look at the siting of controversial projects, like giant windmills. A handful of the DHHL measures have already cleared their first hearings in the Senate….

House Bills 2686 and 2688 would ban siting of landfills and wind turbines within 15 miles of DHHL parcels.

SB 3066 would require projects to place more public notices in the newspaper, by mail and online to better inform neighborhoods that something could impact them….

SB 3066 is unlikely to move anywhere this session, but lawmakers are considering how to better involve the public in siting projects.

That would be one of the issues a “blue ribbon commission” convened by the House and Senate would be tasked with looking at. The resolutions proposing that commission have a hearing Monday….

Not Mentioned, SB2192 is on the move: Legislative Agenda: OHA to Parlay Mauna Kea Protests into Control of BLNR, LUC

LINK: OHA Package

read … State Lawmakers Are Weighing A Slate Of Bills That Affect Native Hawaiians

‘Public Trust Doctrine’ Blocks Drilling Water Wells

HTH: … “If we allow our water to be extracted like it’s oil or some other resource, that is not in the public trust’s best interest,” Replogle said. “Let’s ride this up the court and back down if necessary.”…

No other commissioner seconded Replogle’s motion, however, and it died without substantial discussion. Following that, commissioner Joseph Clarkson made a diametrically opposing motion, proposing that the commission approve Piilani Partners’ application.

Clarkson argued that commercializing public water happens all the time, most commonly in managing plumbing and agriculture.

“If we deny based on this, then we are saying that it’s better to use public water to create sewage than drinking water,” Clarkson said.

However, Clarkson was joined by only two other commissioners, with the remaining three opposing the motion. With the vote a tie, that motion failed as well.

Replogle then returned to his previous motion, which fellow commissioner Dean Au suggested amending by removing the references to plastic waste that the Circuit Court had taken issue with.

But although the commission had been ordered to not use plastic waste as a reason to deny the motion, Replogle disagreed, saying the court should recognize that plastic waste is a worldwide issue that needs to be addressed.

The commission then voted 4-2 to resubmit an amended version of its negative verdict, with one reference to plastic waste still intact, seemingly in defiance of the court….

Surface Water: OHA’s Water Plan Works—Agriculture Literally Dries up in East Kauai

Meanwhile: Activist Attacks Destroy 15% of Hawaii Agriculture

As Explained: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

read … Bid for water-bottling plant in comes up dry again

Paul Brewbaker: The economist speaks plainly about challenges facing Hawaii — and how to manage them

SA: … Among recent efforts, he served as a contributor on the Hawaii Executive Conference’s “Troubled Waters: Charting A New Fiscal Course for Hawaii” report.

It examines three Hawaii public spending challenges totaling upwards of $88 billion over the next three decades — including $47.2 billion for shoring up infrastructure; $15.3 billion for prep tied to climate change and natural disaster; and some $25.7 billion in unfunded liability for public employee retirement benefits.

“My main takeaway was that … a $100 billion Hawaii economy today compels Hawaii to achieve 2% real GDP (gross domestic product) growth — not 1% — from now through 2050,” Brewbaker said.

Hawaii had the lowest state real GDP growth rate in second quarter 2019 (0.5%), and an even lower growth rate in the third quarter (0.4%). “If it grows at 2%, by mid-century, Hawaii’s real annual output will be $50 billion higher than at 1%,” Brewbaker said, adding, “I can think of a couple things to do with an extra $50 billion every year.” ….

read … Paul Brewbaker: The economist speaks plainly about challenges facing Hawaii — and how to manage them

Lawmakers push to create new crisis center aimed at diverting the mentally ill from jail

HNN: …HB933 is dubbed Tiffany and Kaulike’s Law in memory of the fallen officers and would allow the creation of crisis intervention officers ― a new kind of first responder who is specially trained to handle calls involving people in mental health crisis.

“We want to be able to speed up the process and allow our officers to make that determination if they need observation so that we can take them right in,” said HPD Chief Susan Ballard.

“What we currently have to do is call up the psychologist. Talk to them on the phone….

The Queen’s Health System testified it supports of a crisis center, but added it needs to be made available to anyone who’s mentally ill not just those who are suicidal or threatening to hurt others.

Right now, the bill says the program is for people who are “an imminent danger to self or others.”

The majority of people who suffer from mental illness don’t meet that criteria. On Thursday, the bill passed its second reading in the Human Services and Homeless Committee….

PBN: Liliuokalani Trust to build new center next to Honolulu police HQ

HB933: Text, Status

KITV: House Bill 933 would allow crisis intervention officers to make the decision on how to deal with someone possibly mentally ill.

SA Editorial: Expand options for mentally ill

Meanwhile: Cannabis is practically mainstream. Could ‘mushrooms’ be next?

read … Lawmakers push to create new crisis center aimed at diverting the mentally ill from jail

HPD to Confiscate Stolen Bicycles from Criminals

HNN: … Ballard offered several plans and ideas, including taking away a mode of transportation used by many purse snatchers.

“A lot of the modes of transportation now is bicycles, because it’s easy to get around, easy to go through tight places,” she said. “So we’re going to start doing stepped-up enforcement for bicycles,” including seizing and impounding bicycles that aren’t registered.

Other agencies told the committee that it’s not just an HPD problem -- that violent crime is affecting first responders, including city paramedics.

“Just in the last two weeks, we’ve had four of our paramedics attacked,” said Jim Howe, director of the city’s Emergency Medical Services. “The impact of that is when they’re attacked, those ambulances go out of service.”

Ballard said there was also a spike in the use of weapons, including many that were stolen, unregistered -- or even fake replica guns.

“What’s a bit concerning is that from 2018 to 2019, there was a 45 percent increase in the use of guns in robberies." she said….

Ballard also is having offers keep the blue lights on their vehicles to help deter crime. She’s also adjusting schedules, taking some patrol officers from the midnight or overnight shift and moving them to the “third watch” shift, which starts in the late afternoon and runs through the evening.

The chief also said there’s been an increase in the number of qualified recruits joining the force in the last year. That means that they are now gaining officers, which could help make up the difference in patrol numbers soon….

SA: Honolulu police chief offers plans to curb violence

KHON: City council asks law enforcement about recent crime wave

KITV: State lawmakers continue to push for stricter gun laws including banning ghost guns

read … HPD details plans, ideas to fight recent rise in violent crimes

Maui Prosecutor’s Bills Target Elder Abuse by Street Criminals

CB: … the summer of 2019, Maui Prosecuting Attorney Don Guzman hosted an elder abuse summit that brought together experts (both law enforcement and social services professionals) from across the state and the mainland to discuss how best to address elder abuse in our community.

One of ideas that formed from this collaborative effort was a series of amendments to the current laws that would enhance the penalties to those persons who victimize our seniors. This package of amendments (House Bill 1874, Senate Bill 2334) is before Hawaii lawmakers this legislative session.

In a nutshell, the Maui set of amendments hopes to modify the law in the following manner:

  1. if a person assaults a senior causing him physical pain, that crime could be charged as a felony instead of only being treated as a misdemeanor offense (current law requires more serious injuries, like broken bones, in order for these crimes to be treated more seriously);
  2. if a person steals over $250 from a senior (current law says over $750), that crime could also now be considered being charged as a felony matter; and
  3. if a person forges a victim’s name on a document or tries to cash a stolen check belonging to a senior, that matter is now a more serious felony.

Additionally, the Maui Prosecutor’s Office is trying to standardize the age requirement for victims to receive these added protections. Currently, an elder is defined differently, depending on where one looks in the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

read … Maui prosecutor’s proposed bill addressing elder abuse is a substantial effort to protect our kupuna

Kauai helicopter crash pilot lost license for 2010 drug use

SA: … The FAA could not immediately provide details about what kind of drugs Matero tested positive for ….

read … Kauai helicopter crash pilot lost license for 2010 drug use

Honolulu Police arrest 37-year-old man accused of murder in Wahiawa Homeless Auto Thief Camp

KITV: … The man allegedly shot and killed 30-year-old Malia Soma-Valmoja in Wahiawa last month.  Her body was found in the old pineapple fields off Kamehameha Highway near Whitmore Village…

read … Arrest

State proposal aims to repeal electric guns ban

KHON: … The Hawaii Firearms Coalition says it opposes the measure because of the restrictions but supports people owning electric guns for self-defense.

“There was a case in Massachusetts that the Supreme Court reviewed and said electric guns are part of the Second Amendment,” said Todd Yukutakke of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition. “There’s no registration or permitting or training required almost in all other states so I don’t believe it’s necessary in Hawaii.”…

read … State proposal aims to repeal electric guns ban

Navatek Money backs Sen Susan Collins after $8M Boat Deal?

CB: … A Honolulu-based company that received an $8 million contract for defense work in Maine appears to be linked to a mysterious campaign donation made to a super PAC backing U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in her bid for re-election.

That donation, which came through another Hawaii based entity — the Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers LLC — is now the subject of an official complaint before the Federal Election Commission.

On Aug. 7, Collins took part in a celebration with Navatek LLC in Portland, Maine, the largest city in her home state….

A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Collins was there to congratulate Navatek, which is headquartered in Hawaii, for winning a contract from the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research to work with another Maine firm on developing safer hulls and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for military vessels. …

Collins was joined by Navatek’s CEO Martin Kao… Kao’s wife’s name is Tiffany Jennifer Lam. She has donated the maximum amount — $5,600 — to Collins, FEC records show….

Background: Sen Susan Collins Campaign Is Being Helped by a Mysterious Hawaii Company

read … Tangled Web Of Campaign Cash Connects Hawaii To Maine

Corteva quits chlorpyrifos

TGI: … “Demand for one of our long-standing products, chlorpyrifos, has declined significantly over the last two decades, particularly in the U.S.,” said Corteva’s Kaua‘i communications representative Laurie Yoshida.

She continued: “Due to this reduced demand, Corteva has made the strategic business decision to phase out our production of chlorpyrifos in 2020.”

Corteva grows corn and other crops on the Westside, and sells chlorpyrifos under the Lorsban brand.

The chemical has been approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but studies out of entities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health point to the chemical harming children’s brain development….

(Translation: If enough lunatics chase a headless chicken around in circles, your product loses value, even if the EPA says it is OK.)

MJ: Trump Rescued a Nasty Pesticide from an EPA Ban. Now Corteva Will Stop Making It.

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

read … Lunatics Win

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