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Sunday, August 24, 2014
August 24, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:23 PM :: 4904 Views

Grassroot Institute Posts Debate Video

HOPE Probation: Judge Steven Alm Speaks at Heritage Foundation Event

HART: Only 743 Local Jobs Created by Rail Work

Redskins 1, American Samoa 0

Faleomavaega Coming Back to American Samoa for Election Season?

Cutting Energy Costs: Methanol Beats LNG for Hawaii?

ACLU sues for Hawaii Island residents to get second chance to vote

"Not A Typical Election Contest" Filed Over Postponed Puna Primary

Filing Close to Deadline? Get a Receipt!

OHA Pays Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai $95K

SA: The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator paid a controversial political scientist $25,000 to write a memo (to John Kerry) that calls into question the validity of OHA's nation-building effort, even raising the question of whether the office's trustees are committing war crimes by pursuing it....Chairperson Colette Machado said in emailed responses to Honolulu Star-Advertiser questions that she would have hoped that OHA Chief Executive Kamana'opono Crabbe consulted the board before signing a contract with Sai on "such a sensitive issue."

Another trustee, Peter Apo, told the newspaper that Crabbe showed poor judgment in agreeing to pay $25,000 in OHA funds for the memo, which applies much of the research Sai did for his doctoral dissertation, which is available online, and other papers to OHA's situation.

"I do question his judgment on that," Apo said.

Crabbe, OHA's chief executive since January 2012, has the authority to spend up to $25,000 without getting prior board approval.

This is the second time in recent years that OHA has done business with Sai, who received his master's and doctorate degrees in political science from the University of Hawaii and has long championed the idea that the United States is illegally occupying the islands.

OHA previously paid Sai $70,000 under a 2009 contract in which the agency agreed to help with his effort to publish a book based on his research on Hawaii land titles since the 1800s.

One of the provisions required that Sai present a manuscript within 12 months to his publisher, according to the contract, obtained by the Star-Advertiser through a records request. Nearly five years later, the book still hasn't been published.

Sai said OHA recently agreed to an extension allowing him more time to work on the manuscript and has withheld a final payment of $5,000 until the book is published.

Sai's initial research led him in the 1990s to co-found Perfect Title Co., which cited Hawaiian kingdom law to contend that existing land titles in Hawaii were defective. Sai said his book will detail how the title problem can be fixed.

Perfect Title shut down in 1997, and Sai eventually was convicted of first-degree attempted theft, a felony, for helping a couple try to reclaim an Aiea home that they lost through foreclosure. The couple's actions were partly based on the company's notion of invalid land titles -- something the real estate industry pooh-poohed....

The Star-Advertiser obtained the Sai memo and his two contracts through an open-records request.

OHA initially refused to release the memo, claiming it was confidential because the document contained recommended approaches and strategies related to the ongoing nation-building initiative.

When the newspaper asked the agency to cite specific provisions of the law to justify keeping the letter secret, OHA had a change of heart and released the document.

read ... Paying to Exploit Hawaiians

Rush by city, not lawsuits, to blame for rail's expense

Shapiro: City transit officials are tiresome in their dishonest attempts to blame citizen lawsuits for massive cost overruns that are shredding their promise to build Oahu's $5.26 billion rail line on time and on budget.

In the latest grim news from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, bids to build nine of the 20 rail stations came in more than 60 percent over the $184 million budgeted and could add $110 million or more to the project's cost.

With construction still in early phases, the city has already burned nearly half of its overly generous $1 billion contingency fund.

Another likely under-budgeted $750 million contract is still to be bid this year, with more to follow.

As usual, city rail CEO Daniel Grabauskas tried to shift blame to plaintiffs in two lawsuits who won injunctions that delayed construction for a year, claiming costs turned "volatile" after work stopped.

That's a cheap dodge; the lawsuits wouldn't have delayed construction one day if judges hadn't agreed with plaintiffs that the city violated the law in rushing rail.

City politicians and transit officials cut corners, got caught, and it's nobody's fault but their own that we're paying for it....

And if current Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the City Council don't clean up the excuse-making HART hierarchy that's complicit in the poor decisions, give them a share of the bill, too.

Related: The construction calendar was shortened in an effort to make a 2017 deadline to open part of the system, roughly the first 10 miles. However, officials ought to consider pushing that off if it means significant savings can be achieved.

read ... David Shapiro

Blue Planet Green Energy Scammers Demand More Ratepayer Money

Fight to curb out-of-control living costs

SA: ...The fact that 1 in every 5 Hawaii residents depends on donated food to survive is an unmistakable sign that the price of paradise has spiraled out of control. Groceries for a family of four cost 68 percent more here compared to the rest of the United States, and the price of gas, electricity and housing are among the highest in the country....

at least 20 percent of Hawaii's total population of 1.4 million people need help putting food on the table -- and the demand grows every year. A 2010 report found that 183,500 people statewide relied on the Hawaii Foodbank to fill this basic human need. Hawaii's current 1 in 5 rate is far worse than the national average, which stands at 1 in 7....

Some progress was made this past legislative session with the approval of an incremental increase in the minimum wage and additional money to develop affordable rental housing, but much more needs to be done....

That means, for just two examples, that the Public Utilities Commission must hold Hawaiian Electric Co. accountable for relief for Hawaii ratepayers, and the state Department of Human Services must ensure that eligible Hawaii residents sign up for federally funded food stamps. Another initiative that could provide direct relief has been overlooked by the Legislature for too long: The passage of a state earned income tax credit. The federal EITC is hailed as an effective anti-poverty program, and the state should adopt its own credit to help Hawaii's low-income working families survive.

read ... Star-Adv Editorial

Farmers Throw Anti-GMO Activists Out of Iselle Recovery Meeting

WHT:  A small group of anti-GMO activists and organic food proponents was ejected Tuesday afternoon from a talk-story session in Keaau aimed at helping farmers recovering from Tropical Storm Iselle.

Organizers of the event say the activists were trying to capitalize on the losses experienced by farmers, creating a disruption and harassing growers who choose to raise Rainbow papayas and other genetically modified crops. Meanwhile, the activists say they were in attendance to prevent big agriculture companies such as Monsanto from preying on farmers while spreading the use of their products.

Agriculture officials have said that Big Island farmers were hit hard by the high winds, rain and falling trees that accompanied Iselle, with papaya farmers taking the most damage. Estimates for the papaya industry alone have put the impact at about $56 million. So on Tuesday, W. H. Shipman and Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United hosted a gathering for farmers to discuss their problems and offer experts to provide some solutions.

when a handful of activists who oppose the use of chemicals and genetically modified crops, including members of GMO Free Hawaii Island, allegedly created a disturbance, the organizers said they chose to call the police and have some members of the group removed.

In a phone interview Thursday, GMO critic Courtney Larson said she and others attended the meeting to keep an eye on what kinds of foods are being sold by farmers.

“I’m a chef, and I have clientele that come to me for specifically non-GMO, organic, healthful foods. And that’s my position,” she said. “I currently happen to know everything about nutrition...."

Hawaii Police records indicate that the department has initiated two third-degree assault cases, which are misdemeanors, and one harassment case as a result of the incident at the Shipman offices. ...Shipman representatives say...Larson had been the aggressor, shouting and causing a scene. Larson said that responding police did not believe her side of the story either and escorted her from the property.

read ... Activists Thrown Out

It’s a zoo for Lassner at UH, full of ducks and weasels

Borreca: On Tuesday, University of Hawaii-Manoa professors started mobilizing for a Faculty Senate no-confidence vote as a statement of protest over Lassner's firing of Tom Apple as UH-Manoa chancellor.

As reported by Hawaii News Now, Catherine Fulford, a UH-Manoa Senate member and education technology professor, said: "How many administrators have we churned through, not just at the president level, but at the chancellor level? I mean, we're not giving these people a chance."

Then driving the Lassner duck-to-weasel index level even higher was Ben Jay, the UH athletic director telling the UH Board of Regents that "there's a very real possibility of (UH) football going away."

Back down to "ducks pecking you to death" level happened the next day when Jay issued a clarification saying his statements "were made in order to convey a sense of urgency regarding the need to address our current funding model."

On Thursday, the Lassner index was back up among the weasels as the UH Regents met to hear how even more people disapprove of Lassner's performance....

The regents then guaranteed that the Lassner index would stay up at the weasel level as they approved new salaries for five UH chancellors, including Apple's replacement, Robert Bley-Vroman.  The yearly bill for those five salaries is $1,127,016....

read ... A Zoo

Homeless: “They're drug addicts, alcohol bottles, trash everywhere. Pretty disgusting."

HNN: The University of Hawaii is cracking down on homeless campers who live on a ridge just above the UH Manoa campus, steps away from faculty housing and across the street from UH dorms.

No one knows exactly how many homeless people are living on Wa’ahila Ridge just off Dole Street.

One homeless man was clearly visible on the hillside early Friday evening. Nearby residents said they can hear him yelling loudly in the middle of the night from time to time and can see him throwing his garbage down the hillside.

Hikers and people who live at the Wa’ahila Faculty Apartments said there are at least a dozen homeless camp sites in the area.

"And I see, like the sketchiest homeless people,” said UH student Aaron Bullock who hikes the area several times a week. “They're drug addicts, alcohol bottles, trash everywhere. Pretty disgusting."...

A UH security spokeswoman said no one incident sparked the crackdown but she said the homeless are living on UH property which creates a safety concern so the university is trying to remedy the situation with the help of law enforcement and social services organizations.

read ... Force them into Shelters

No risk from steam release, DOH says

WHT: The steam release at Puna Geothermal Venture earlier this month was well within safety limits for hydrogen sulfide, according to the state Department of Health.

The Aug. 7 release occurred as Tropical Storm Iselle began hitting Puna, exasperating concerns for some nearby residents who said they couldn’t leave their homes because of downed trees.

But Gary Gill, environmental health deputy director, said Friday there is no reason to believe hydrogen sulfide levels came close to causing harm.

The release occurred as a safety measure when the plant shutdown after being disconnected from transmission lines because of the storm.

Without power, PGV’s fence line monitors and DOH’s monitor near the plant also went offline. PGV reported that a hand-held monitor detected a peak hydrogen sulfide reading of 25 parts per billion at the fence line, which didn’t put it over its limit of 25 ppb on an average hourly basis.

“If those readings are accurate, given that the concentration is very low, and given the assumption that winds were very high during this period of time, one would not expect any adverse health effects to have been caused by the release as we understand it,” Gill said.

read ... Hypesters Slapped Down

Expanding marine national monument would harm U.S. and Hawaii fisheries

SA: ...in seeking to stand out as an environmental steward in his second term, President Obama seems to have lost touch with his birthplace. His latest plan to create an environmental legacy would use unilateral action to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM).

Citing executive authority under the Antiquities Act, Obama in June announced the proposal from 5,000 miles away without consulting the very citizens who are at risk of losing their traditions and livelihoods. If enacted, the monument's expansion would impact Hawaii's longline fishery, which supplies the Hawaiian Islands and U.S. mainland with the majority of ahi and swordfish. Fishery managers, local officials and fishermen who rely on these waters are understandably astounded by this failure in outreach and consideration....

read ... Peter Apo

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