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Saturday, April 12, 2014
April 12, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:59 PM :: 6287 Views

Did State cheat OHA out of $150M on Kakaako land transfer?

April 11, 2014: Election Commission Releases Updated Candidate List

Hawaii Independent Party Unveils Logo, Seeks Candidates

Farmers' Dust Fine Violates Hawaii Right to Farm Act

Abercrombie: Inouye Wanted Hanabusa but ... but ... but

LA Times:  Gov. Neil Abercrombie has challenged that much-told narrative, implying that it had been manufactured to pressure him into choosing Hanabusa. He questioned whether Inouye even wrote the letter, marked “personal” and dispatched just before he died, seeking Hanabusa’s appointment. And he said that, in more than one conversation, the late senator stated his preference for Hanabusa but made it clear that the decision ultimately was Abercrombie's.

“I received that letter, ostensibly coming from Sen. Inouye himself, a half an hour before he died in Washington, D.C. Literally,” Abercrombie said in a lengthy interview Thursday. “Whether or not this could be construed as Sen. Inouye’s dying wish  — let me put it this way  — is problematic.”

Later he elaborated, saying the circumstances were “far from the drama … with which it’s been characterized.”

“I think it was kind of created,” Abercrombie said. “ I don’t dispute for a second it represented his thinking, but it’s far from being a dying wish, sent from Washington and signed and sealed … by Sen. Inouye in Washington.”....

“We worked together hand in glove for 20 years,” he said, his voice rising.  (We all know what this sounds like.) “To have others characterize our relationship on the basis of their perception of politics, it’s not just inaccurate, it completely misses the actual nature of this relationship.”

Abercrombie said the question of succession actually come up after  another Hawaii senator, Daniel Akaka, announced plans to retire in 2012. At one point, Abercrombie said, there was talk of Akaka stepping down early, so his successor could be named immediately and gain seniority over others elected in November.

It was then, Abercrombie said, that Inouye stated his preference for Hanabusa. But, the governor said, he also told him, “In the end, as governor, you have to make the decision you think is best for the people of Hawaii. It’s up to you. … And of course he’d say that because he was the person he was, which is to say a consummate politician in the best sense of that word.”

Flashback , July, 2013: Neil Abercrombie Conspiracy Theory Claims Inouye Letter Conspiracy

PR: History, revised

read ... Hawaii governor questions deathbed drama

HB1866 shifts HCDA's power Away from Governor

SA: If approved Monday, the bill would go to Abercrombie, who would have 10 days to decide whether to sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature, the timetable for bills passed before the final days of session. An Abercrombie spokes­man would not say Friday whether the governor would sign the bill into law.

The legislation would weaken the governor's power to shape the nine-member HCDA board, which now includes four of the governor's Cabinet members and the governor's choice of a cultural specialist and at-large pick.

Under the bill, the governor would have sole discretion to name four board members — two Cabinet members, the cultural specialist and the at-large pick — down from six. The Senate president and the House speaker would recommend nominees to the governor for two seats on the board, giving the Legislature a stake.

The Honolulu planning director would also serve as a nonvoting board member.

A 418-foot height limit for Kaka­ako buildings would be written into state law.

read ... Bill shifts HCDA's power

Experts: One-stop shopping of Mental health services could save lives

KITV: Some residents struggling with severe or persistent mental illness don't seek out help for other medical conditions. Experts say this is the reason behind Hawaii's unusually high mortality rate.

Mental illness can be more than just a disease -- for some it is a death sentence.

"People of mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population. They are predisposed to diseases like hypertension and diabetes," said Kim Golis, with the Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse.

Now under the expanded Living Well pilot project, the Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse will offer testing for those common killers.

It will also provide tips for better eating habits and help members with other health issues.

read ... Mental Health

Hawaii Health Connector seeks approval to outsource individual enrollment to state Department of Human Services

PBN: The Hawaii Health Connector, which is developing a sustainability plan to stay afloat without federal funding in 2015, is working with state lawmakers on getting federal approval in time for the 2015 open enrollment period to shift its individual marketplace over to the state Department of Human Services, which handles Medicaid eligibility and enrollment.

In proposing the plan to state lawmakers Wednesday, Interim Executive Director Tom Matsuda said this route would allow the state DHS to become the sole intake for individual applications on the Hawaii Health Connector, and the state department would determine both Medicaid eligibility and tax credit determinations. That means individuals would use the Hawaii Health Connector website simply to shop and compare plans but would go to the DHS to file applications and complete the enrollment process.

That would enable the Connector to evolve into a more robust portal for  small-business enrollment, a direction in which it is going.

“The idea is that the DHS would run everything on the individual side except for the small business portal,” said Rep. Angus McKelvey, D-West Maui-North Kihei, “So that puts to rest the other big issue, which is keeping the Prepaid Health Care Act alive by having the Hawaii Health Connector run it, which keeps the federal government from coming in and running it in Hawaii.“

Background: Hawaii to be First State to Dump Obamacare Health Exchange?

read ... DHS Takeover?

Notorious Hilo Dentist Licensed Thanks to Brian Schatz

HTH: Stover was licensed as a medical doctor in Hawaii in 2001 and as a dentist in 2005. He was among 87 dentists licensed in Hawaii by regional exam or credential during a transition period after the Hawaii Board of Dental Examiners stopped administering its own test and before it began requiring dentists to pass a national exam.  (Thanks to a bill pushed by Brian Schatz, Suzanne Chun Oakland & Roz Baker)

Stover had previously been licensed as a dentist and an oral and facial surgeon in Louisiana. He has no disciplinary history in that state, and those licenses remain active, according to the Louisiana dental and medical boards.

He is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, as shown in that board's database. In addition, Stover's website says he is certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the National Board of Dental Anesthesiology, and has a doctorate in anatomy.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website shows that Stover had seven complaints filed against him this year as a doctor and as a dentist, most after the Tavares case was publicized.

Three complaints were lodged last year, and two the year before. All 12 complaints are still pending and under investigation, and the department will release no further details. Another complaint filed against him in 2010 was closed the following year for insufficient evidence.

Investigators from the Regulated Industries Complaints Office, part of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, visited his office earlier this month. Brent Suyama, spokes­man for the department, said the probes are still underway.

"A licensee closing their practice does not halt any investigation," Suyama said. "Our investigations continue until we decide there is insufficient evidence, or we take a course of action on the disciplinary side, or a settlement is reached."

Consequences include fines, suspension, revocation or voluntary surrender of licenses. The department handles only civil complaints focused on licenses, not criminal cases, Suyama said.

In 2013 the department received 20 complaints statewide involving the dental profession, he said. The previous year there were 30, and in 2011 there were 16.

read ... Hilo dentist quits as complaints mount

Murder on the Waterfront: Twenty Years HPD Coverup

KHON: On the morning of April 16, 1994, 51-year-old David Walden was waiting at Pier 24 for a production truck to arrive from Maui. That’s when two people on a motorcycle confronted the film equipment administrator and shot him to death. Witnesses reported hearing five gunshots and saw the suspects speed off immediately afterward.

For Walden’s family, it’s been two decades of sorrow and frustration. Now, there’s a renewed call for anyone with new information to come forward and help them get justice.

“There was a lot of evidence and they were close to solving the case, so yeah, it’s really frustrating,” said Angela Whitworth, Walden’s daughter.

Whitworth was only 15 years old when her father was murdered. She says HPD had plenty of information to solve the case, including witnesses at the scene.

Police also know that Walden was threatened the night before he was killed. “He was threatened by this person and the next day he’s dead, so that’s pretty hard-hitting evidence,” Whitworth said.

HPD says a new detective was assigned to the case in the past year and is examining the evidence, but admits this is a very difficult case.

“There were witnesses who heard the shooting and went outside and saw the suspects getting on the motorcycle and fleeing,” said Maj. Richard Robinson of the Honolulu Police Department.

read ... Teamsters Production Unit

State Auditor applauds Public Charter School Commission

KHON: The commission was established in 2012 after the state found the Charter School Review Panel ineffective.

“Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network saw first-hand the hard work and effort put in by all parties involved to make significant progress quickly and with limited resources to adapt to Act 130, SLH 2012, a recodification of Hawaii’s charter school law,” said Lynn Finnegan, HPCSN’s executive director. “There is, however, still much work to be done. Accountability systems often stifle flexibility and autonomy, the very things that make charter schools so unique and innovative.

“We believe that as the system of oversight and accountability improves, so will the ability to showcase the positive impact of charter schools in their communities,” Finnegan said.

Background: Auditor Updates Progress on Public Housing, Charter Schools

read ... State Auditor applauds Public Charter School Commission

Hawaii County to Enact Honolulu Sidewalk Ordinance

WHT: The council Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation has scheduled Bill 193 for its 10 a.m. Tuesday meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center. The public can participate there, or by videoconferencing at council chambers in Hilo, the Waimea council office, the county facility in Kohala, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Community Center or the Pahoa neighborhood facility.

The bill, sponsored by Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, is one of several initiatives formulated by multiagency homelessness task forces on both sides of the island, said county Managing Director Wally Lau, who spearheaded the working groups. Others include retail stores voluntarily taking oversized containers of malt liquor and such off their shelves and having groups that include a social worker, prosecutor and police working one-on-one with specific individuals to help them get the help they need, he said.

“We’re trying to be firm, but be fair and considerate,” Lau said....

Kanuha had requested assistance from the administration after residents and business owners in his district asked for help. Several members of the public, however, in June disparaged his resolution, asking the administration to help, saying the wording denigrated a group of people who either by choice, substance abuse or mental problems or just plain bad luck, landed on the street.  (Get it?  If you try to help mentally ill people and drug users get off the streets, you are denigrating them.  Homeless industry logic to keep the grant money flowing.)

Bill 193 requires people to remove their possessions from public property within 24 hours of receiving a written notice either in person or affixed to the property. Moving it from one public property to another won’t satisfy the removal requirements.

Items not removed will be impounded by the county, with the owner responsible for charges incurred in moving and storing the possessions. If a shopping cart is impounded, the county will notify the retailer to come pick it up. Items not claimed within 30 days will be sold or destroyed.

read ... Push the Homeless to Accept Shelter

Thanks to Effete Snobs, Molokai Farmer Fined for 'Fugitive Dust'

MN: The state Department of Health filed the proposed consent order March 27 and contends that Monsanto operations in Kaunakakai violated air pollution rules and laws by "causing or permitting visible fugitive dust to become airborne without taking reasonable precautions to prevent it" on three occasions in 2012 - Nov. 21 and Dec. 2 and 20.

The Health Department defines fugitive dust as the emission of solid airborne particles from noncombustion sources....

(Effete snob Irene) Bowie (of the arrogantly named "Maui Tomorrow" group,) called for increased mitigation of agricultural dust, noting that construction companies have to control their dust; large agricultural entities should have to as well.  (Translation agriculture is as much an enemy as developers are.  Equivalency, in practice, means ag is the greater enemy.)

LTE: Farmers' Dust Fine Violates Hawaii Right to Farm Act

read ... Maui Tomorrow: Effete Snobs

Feds Release Draft EIS for Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

IM: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) to develop guidance that can be used to support the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) goal of meeting 70 percent of the State’s energy needs by 2030 through clean energy.

Summary (1 MB);   Draft PEIS.

Federal law -- the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – requires a No-Action Alternative.

The DPEIS states that “under the no-action alternative, DOE would continue to support, through funding and other actions, the State of Hawai‘i in meeting its HCEI goals on a case-by-case basis, but without guidance to integrate and prioritize funding decisions and other actions.”

In other words, DOE would continue what it has been doing for the last six years since the HCEI was launched.

Some might argue that “without guidance” really means “without publicly disclosed guidance.” 

IM: The Dream and Burden of Undersea High Voltage Transmission Lines

read ... Guidance?

HECO Uses 'Consumer Advocate' to Keep Real Consumers Out

IM: The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is the gatekeeper who gets to decide whether the Consumer Advocate can or cannot represent the interests of other parties.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) recent rate case (Docket No. 2009-0050) is a good example.

“The Consumer Advocate is well aware of its duty to represent, protect and advance the interests of all customers, small businesses and of course the utilities. ...The flip side of that is we also acknowledge that we have the difficult burden of also trying to balance the interests of all consumers."

The Commission ruled that “the Consumer Advocate and other parties, in this specific instance, do not appear to adequately represent Kauai Marriott's interests.”

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has repeatedly asserted that the Consumer Advocate represents all consumers and therefore no other entity should be permitted into practically all regulatory proceedings.

HECO asserts this in proceedings where the Consumer Advocate has taken public positions diametrically opposed to the interests of entities seeking to intervene in regulatory proceedings.

read ... Manipulating the definition of consumer in utility proceedings

Sylvia Luke's Make-Work Program for Lawyers 

SA: Two years ago the state blocked access to a popular rock-climbing wall in Moku­­leia after a 12-year-old girl was critically injured by a falling rock. Also in 2012, the state settled a lawsuit related to a hiking death for more than $15 million.

Mike Richardson, owner of Climb Aloha, a rock-climbing shop in Hono­lulu, said community members working closely with the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the state attorney general's office have come to the conclusion that both sides can benefit from increasing the state's protection from liability on public land.

"As taxpayers (we believe) these two issues are just absolutely interlinked," Richardson said....

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Karl Rhoads (D, Chinatown-Iwi­lei-Kalihi) amended the bill earlier this year to include a provision suggested by the attorney general that would ensure liability protection where warning signs are posted. He also added language to prevent the June expiration of a 2003 law passed to create a system for posting warning signs on improved public lands.

During a hearing held April 3, Rep. Sylvia Luke, chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, stripped the bill, keeping only the part that would preserve the signage law.

Twenty-two individuals filed a complaint Thursday with the state Ethics Commission contending that Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuu­anu) should have recused herself from the legislative process because she's an attorney with the personal injury firm Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina and Fairbanks, and her firm could benefit from liability lawsuits....

State ethics law bars employees from taking official action that would affect a personal financial interest, but state statute excludes legislators from its definition of employee.

read ... Make Work Program

Star-Adv: Chang, Manahan make wrong call on TV ads

SA: The ads conform with campaign laws and neither councilman was paid for his participation. The issue isn't legality, but perception and the perception here is that Chang and Manahan have undermined their own credibility as objective City Council members and as candidates for higher office. Both are running in the 1st Congressional District's crowded Democratic primary; the ads identify them only as Honolulu councilmembers.

Unite Here Local 5 created the series of 15-second ads to put pressure on Kaiser, which employs about 1,900 of its members. Local 5 has been trying to negotiate a new contract since the last one expired in August 2012. In one spot, Chang says Kaiser wants to end guaranteed pensions for local workers, and asserts, "Kaiser shouldn't hurt our people as they get older." He appeals to Kaiser to "do the right thing." In another, Manahan says "getting old shouldn't hurt. Ending guaranteed pensions hurts our people as we get older. I say No to ending guaranteed pensions."

A Kaiser spokeswoman insists that the commercials are misleading. The state's largest health-maintenance organization proposed changing retirement benefits for only new hires. Kaiser gave Local 5 a "last, best and final offer" in January that the union did not present to its membership for a vote, said spokeswoman Laura Lott.

"There are no changes to any current employees' pension benefits within this new offer," she said.

read ... 2 councilmen make wrong call on TV ads

Hilo community college collected $245K in fees for non-existent facilities and services, Ousts Complainers

HNN: Hawaii Community College in Hilo has charged students about $245,000 in fees for the last year and a half for services that aren't available on the campus, such as a radio station, newspaper and recreational facilities.

And three former student government leaders at the school who have complained about the situation were voted off the Student Council over the last year and a half, in what they claim was retaliation for asking questions about alleged financial mismanagement.

read ... $245K in fees for non-existent facilities and services

Hickam phone project called $5M waste

SA: "In 2010, Hickam Air Force Base was merged into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Navy led. An advertised goal of joint basing was to save resources by finding best practices between the services. Unfortunately we are not doing that here," said the letter writer, who identified himself as David Anderson.

Anderson said he is with the Navy's information technology service management office and has lived and worked in Hawaii for 23 years.

"I am writing to you for help to stop wasteful spending of our tax dollars," Anderson said in his letter to Hirono, dated Friday. "Specifically Navy Region Hawaii is moving forward with a telephone system standardization project at a cost of $4.9 million."

read ...  Navy phone project called waste

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