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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
November 19, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:44 PM :: 5462 Views

Institute for Astronomy Discovers Black Money Hole in Kakaako

It's Official: OHA Trustees are Lawbreakers

Hawaii Unfunded Liabilities Could Become a "Broken Promise"

Laborers Union: Schatz, Hirono, Hanabusa, Gabbard are Cowards Pandering to Eco Nut Billionaires

Judicial Selection: Constitutional Amendment Icing on the Transparency Cake

Video: Kelii Akina Interviews Senator Sam Slom

U.S. Air Force Colonel joins DOE leadership team

Victory: All Hawaii Veterans Can Now Use VA Benefits at Non-VA Facilities

SA: Thousands of veterans in Hawaii have started to receive "Choice Cards" from the Department of Veterans Affairs that are meant to provide health care in the community as an alternative to long waits for VA appointments....

...Hawaii, Alaska and New Hampshire do not have actual VA medical centers, according to the VA. The other 47 states do have such medical centers, and that's guiding new legislation for the vast majority of the country, the VA said.

The new Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, signed into law in August, mandates the provision of non-VA care for veterans unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days or who reside more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, according to Congress.

...in Hawaii, which has a VA clinic and a "memorandum of understanding" with Tripler Army Medical Center, all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system as of Aug. 1 and recently discharged combat veterans will be receiving Choice Cards, the VA said....

The Veterans Choice Act includes a $10 billion fund from which the VA must pay for non-VA care....

read ... Choice Cards

Jockeying for Attorney General?   Kaneshiro Blames Carlisle for losing track of at least 15 sex assault cases

KHON: City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro stunned Honolulu City Council members Tuesday when he admitted several rape cases were never prosecuted because the office lost track of them.

(Maybe C and K are both jockeying for Ige's Attorney General nomination?  Hmmmm....)

He appeared before a city council committee to report on procedural changes at the prosecutor’s office.

Soon after he was elected to office two years ago, Kaneshiro said he came across a file of pending cases involving felony sex crimes.

“One deputy prosecutor, there were about 15 to 20 cases that had to be dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired,” Kaneshiro said. His statement hushed the room.

Kaneshiro discovered that the office had not filed charges in as many as 20 cases and, by that time, the statute of limitations had expired and all cases had to be dismissed.

“Can you explain what happened?” KHON2 asked Kaneshiro after the hearing.

“I came into office and some of the deputies had left, and one of the deputies who left office, we went in and we found his case file, and in one of the files, there were sex assault cases that the statute of limitations had expired because the cases were never charged,” Kaneshiro said. “It could have been tried under my predecessor, could have been tried under my tenure, but the question was, it had to be charged.” ...

Former city prosecutor Peter Carlisle told KHON2 he would need to take a look at the former deputy’s case file and review the cases in particular before he could comment on the dismissals.

read ... Incompetent

Attorneys: Kaneshiro Organized Gambling Raids in Retaliation for Lawsuit (Campaign 2016 part 2)

HNN: A judge on Tuesday held a hearing on whether to throw out a high-profile case against alleged gambling arcades on Oahu after accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.

The judge took testimony from just one witness, a deputy prosecutor, who denied any misconduct took place and defended his office's actions. The city's crackdown on arcades resulted in hundreds of machines being seized, nine people being arrested, and a 414-count indictment.

Deputy Prosecutor Jake Delaplane was grilled on the stand by defense attorneys who say prosecutors misrepresented evidence and relied on tainted testimony from their expert witness.

They also allege prosecutors acted improperly because Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro was one of the targets of a civil lawsuit filed by the defendants.

Judge Randal Lee said he felt ill after reviewing how prosecutors handled the case before the grand jury. "I was the one who told you after reading the first 30 pages I couldn't stomach it," said Lee.

read ... Prosecutors defend conduct in gambling raid hearing

Abercrombie Urges Ige to Keep William Aila at DLNR

CB: But before they delivered their passionate presentations detailing the impending troubles, the governor carved out a moment to make a pitch for William Aila to remain head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Abercrombie urged everyone in attendance to ask Gov.-elect David Ige to retain Aila in the next administration so he can follow through with critical plans concerning climate preparedness and watershed protection.

Ige, who takes office Dec. 1, has yet to name any cabinet members save for Mike McCartney, the Hawaii Tourism Authority president who will become his chief of staff, and Ford Fuchigami, who will step down as head of Honolulu’s Department of Enterprise Services to lead the state Department of Transportation.

read ... A good idea

Inouye, Matsunaga, Hee: Ex-Politician Minions Find Cush Jobs at UH

CB: Jennifer Sabas, the former chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, will be part of a two-person lobbying team from The National Group that will try to secure funds in fields such as astronomy, ocean sciences and food sustainability.

The $189,000 annual contract also calls for the lobbyists to push for policies that will increase affordability at the university, (LOL!) in particular for immigrants, veterans and under-served minorities. 

Sabas is also working to bring a $50 million center dedicated to her former boss to the UH-Manoa campus....

(Affordability plan: Cancel this project and fire Sabas.  School becomes $50,189,000 more affordable.)

Lynne Waters, (AKA Mrs Clayton Hee) a spokeswoman for UH, said that the lobbying contract will not be used to directly influence Hawaii’s delegation, as those discussions are done by university personnel.

Vincent Versage, a founding partner of The National Group, will also be lobbying on behalf of the university. Versage, who is based in Washington, D.C., worked for the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga and was a campaign aide for Inouye.

read ... Politicians at the trough

Brickwood Galuteria is Odd Man Out

SBH NEWS: State Legislature Reorganizes. Both the Democrat State House and Senate reorganized last week.  The new Session begins Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Rep. Joe Souki of Maui remains Speaker-dumping Republican support which he no longer needed this year. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim remains President and will be more active in certain key Senate committee operations. Odd man out is Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (Waikiki), former Majority Leader, stung by repeated allegations of conflict of interest (he is employed by an OHA agency and actively advocated for OHA Kaka'ako projects) and who backed a Kim opponent. He has no committee and is a non-officer. The Senate Minority organized in a record 20-seconds-retaining me. The House GOP, now with 8 members of the 51 member body, surprisingly was still deadlocked 4-4 Monday, denying Aaron Ling Johanson the Minority Leadership for now.

read ... Smart Business Hawaii News

Commissioners take up Cayetano's Campaign Spending Complaint

HR: The state campaign spending commission will meet today to review a case brought by Former Gov. Ben Cayetano against the Pacific Resource Partnership.

Last month, Commissioners delayed decision making on whether to refer a complaint Cayetano filed against Pacific Resource Partnership to the Honolulu City Prosecutor for further investigation.

The commission staff recommended settling the complaint with a fine, but Cayetano convinced commissioners to reconsider....

Commissioners also review this case today to determine whether to forward a complaint to the Honolulu City Prosecutor for further review.

read ... Complaint

DoE Claims Background check wasn't completed for Hawaii teacher accused of sex crimes

HNN: It's unclear why it took so long for the outcry and Hoshiyama continued to teach in Avondale, Arizona until she and her family moved to Hawaii in late August.

On her Facebook Page, Nicholson recently gloated about getting her teaching certificate in Hawaii.

On November 7, she started working at Voyager Public Charter School in Makiki.

"We did do an interview process as well as we checked three references from former employers back in Arizona prior to her hire," says Jeff Vilardi, the Principal at Voyager. He says they submitted her name to the Department of Education for their approval.

But the DOE says, she was not approved yet because she hadn't passed their background check.  Phase one of the process was only completed this week. The next phase would have included fingerprints. Theoretically, that would have shown the arrest warrant.

So what happened? The DOE and Voyager say they are trying to figure that out. In the meantime, Hoshiyama is suspended with pay. She is being held at the Honolulu Police Department pending an extradition hearing.

read ... Coverup?

Foster Parents Biggest Failure of CPS

SA: In interviews with nearly two dozen current and former ones, most told the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser that they felt unappreciated by DHS, were treated as if their main role was to be told what to do, and frequently were not informed about what was happening with their child's case. Attorneys who have represented foster families said their clients expressed some of the same sentiments.

While many of the foster parents spoke of the joy and immense satisfaction they received from caring for some of Hawaii's most vulnerable children, they described the frustration of dealing with a large bureaucracy and what they called inadequate support, financially and otherwise, from the state.

"They don't want to give you anything more than they have to," said Kaha­luu resident Raynette Ah Chong, who with her husband, Eddie, has cared for more than 100 foster children since 1994 while raising five kids of their own. "You have to jump through hoops. You have to crawl through tunnels for certain things."

Daniel Pollard, managing attorney for Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i's Hono­lulu family unit, put the issue in a broader context.

"The single biggest failure within the CPS system is that not enough is being done to recruit, train and support appropriate foster homes," Pollard said, referring to Child Protective Services, the part of DHS that investigates child abuse cases and most commonly is associated with the foster care system.

SA: Insurance plans rarely protect kids or families

read ... Foster

Even San Francisco Rejects Abercrombie's Soda Tax

CB: Gov. Neil Abercrombie had proposed a much larger soda tax soon after he took office at the end of 2010, but the Legislature has soundly rejected several different forms of his proposal over the past four years.

Proponents say the soda tax is a way to combat the epidemic of obesity. They hope the Berkeley vote repesents a tipping point, and that more jurisdictions will follow its lead.

But industry representatives argue it’s more likely a dead end in light of Berkeley’s rather unique political culture, and the defeat of similar measures in dozens of other cities and states, including Hawaii and, most recently, San Francisco.

read ... Bye Bye Neil

Hawaii's Largest Wind Developer--Take The Money and Run

BBN: When First Wind's investors first looked to cash out of the company several years ago, they tried the IPO route. Their plans for an initial public offering were shelved in 2010, but the option remained under consideration.

Now that SunEdison has arrived, Boston-based First Wind's backers have found a clearer path to the exit. The Missouri-based solar development company and its power plant holding company, affiliate TerraForm Power, unveiled a deal on Monday to buy First Wind for up to $2.4 billion. That's a nice reward for First Wind's private equity backers, Madison Dearborn Partners and D.E. Shaw & Co....

Gaynor tells me that discussions about becoming a freestanding public company or spinning out the existing wind-farm projects into a separate public firm continued for some time. But in the end, Gaynor says key investors decided that the wait to fully recoup their investments in First Wind would be too long — potentially as long as three to five years — with another IPO.

"We've hit a critical mass, in terms of the cycle of the company," says Gaynor, whose firm generated roughly $250 million in revenue last year. "We were always thinking about what was the right next step for us to take."

read ... Take the Money and Run

Gays Desperate to Cover Up Lack of Hawaii Gay Marriage Business

TA: Travel Agent recently spoke to several notable Hawaii tour operators who felt that Hawaii’s same-sex marriage market was not doing as well as some predicted it would since Hawaii’s Marriage Equality Act went into effect on December 2, 2013.

But after reviewing some detailed statistics recently provided to us by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), we can attest that same sex marriages in Hawaii are alive and well and are actually performing ahead of what most experts predicted in 2013.

The University of Hawaii published a report, also known as the LaCroix report, that attempted to ascertain the effect of same-sex marriage on visitor spending. It is important to note, however, that the LaCroix best-case scenario of $217 million in spending was not confined to same-sex marriage spending, but included spending for same-sex honeymoons.

PBN: Spreads the Lies

read ... Lies

How to Grow Sweet Corn on Maui and End Up in Jail

IMM: On July 1, 2014 (page 104), Mr. Pang (one of the authors of the initiative) was asked by Councilmember Guzman, during testimony, “Where is the ultimate authority to finally say this company is released from the temporary moratorium?”

Mr. Pang responded, “First of all, it would be as far as I understand and which I’d influence, it would be released on a product by product basis. It won’t be a company. They got product X, we’ll release it or not. To call the committee together is not that hard. I can tap onto friends and volunteers who review for the Congressional Delegation, they owe me, I owe them. We have many international people. We would try to keep it fair so they’re not either for or against it and they certainly won’t have financial conflict of interest one way or the other. The five people, as I understand it, can vote to release it or not. It is essentially a de facto EIS.”

IMM: Do Organic Growers Use ‘Hazmat’ Suits?

read ... How to Grow Sweet Corn on Maui and End Up in Jail

Kauai Council Loans for Anti-GMO Activists to Convert Cesspools?

KE: The Kauai County Council will take up the topic of cesspools today, when it considers a resolution to support a low-interest loan program to help residents convert to septic systems....

Kauai has some 14,000 cesspools, and 11,600 of them are located in perennial watersheds, discharging approximately 8.1 million gallons of effluent, 1,800 kilograms of nitrogen and 520 kg of phosphorus into the environment daily, according to the resolution....

One blatant example is the $3.987 million Bali Hai Dream House, which is owned by the Paskal (tour boats and Postcards restaurant) Trust and located right on Makua (Tunnels).

Though records show the house was significantly upgraded in 1996, it's still using the same small cesspool that was dug back in 1970 for the original little house. Only now it has three bathrooms, and sleeps six-to-eight. With a weekly rent of $9,500, it could quickly cover the cost of a conversion.

And then there's the Teak House, an $8 million, eight-bedroom, 6,026-square-foot vacation rental that was built atop burials by the Zimmerman family — which, btw, funds the local anti-GMO movement. This TVR has 8 full baths, one half-bath and a pool, all served by a small cesspool built in 1989....

The Garden Island has written extensively about Mahaulepu stream contamination, which can apparently be attributed to nene, chickens and wild pigs (what a surprise), and the North Shore coral disease. But it's been totally mum about the impact of TVR cesspools on water quality, perhaps because neither Surfrider nor the Terry Lilley fan club have an ax to grind there.

Regardless of what the DOH decides, Kauai County can take its own path toward cleaner water by helping locals with low-cost loans and demanding septic conversions for TVRs near the ocean and streams. As for tax credits, they should be limited to the least expensive properties, not issued across the board.

KGI: Cesspool Loans

read ... Musings: Cleanup Crew

Hawaii Co Council Postpones Effort to Override State Law on Aquarium Collectors

HTH: Bill 318, sponsored by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, prohibits the withholding of food for more than 24 hours, requires fish to be transported in a minimum of 1 gallon of water per fish and prohibits “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently carrying or causing to be carried in or upon any vehicle or other conveyance aquarium life within the County in a manner that is likely to result in the injury or death of the aquarium life.”

More than 85 testifiers spoke in person or submitted written testimony in favor of the bill. About 30 were opposed.

The council Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability postponed the measure to the call of the chairman, indicating the new council will likely take it up after it is seated next month.

“I don’t want to hear about the scientific stuff because I don’t believe we should be shipping our fish out,” said Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter. “These are our resources that people are taking for free. … What are we doing to our island?”

“There’s a lot of emotion here … I know we as a county can’t outlaw the aquarium trade because it is state jurisdiction,” added Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, asking for more time to study the issue.

Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan saw an ulterior motive in the bill. He also asked for more time....

read ... Back Again Next Year

Punatic Returns from Native Texas to Help Convicted Felon Pretend to be King of Hawaii

EN: Lanny Sinkin says his work to restore the ousted kingdom of Hawaii is a “big undertaking.”

So big in fact that he’s leaving his post as executive director of the nonprofit Solar San Antonio to return to the islands to help the kingdom with outreach, education and planning.

Sinkin lived in Hawaii for 17 years before returning to San Antonio when his mother, Fay Sinkin, became ill and died in 2009. Sinkin stayed with his father, civic and business leader Bill Sinkin, and worked alongside him at Solar San Antonio until his death earlier this year.

Sinkin said he’s excited to go back to Hawaii.

He and other advocates for a Hawaiian monarchy contend the kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown more than 110 years ago by the U.S. government, and Sinkin works with “King” Keli'i Silva to restore the government.

Sinkin has been an adviser and a spiritual guide and even helped Silva get parole for a 24-year sentence in state prison for theft by deception.

Sinkin said the charges were a misunderstanding ... (insert excuses here) ....

read ... Just another Punatic

Traffic: Is Rail the Best we can do?

  1. The City and State government can stagger work hours (7-4, 8:30-5:30, 10-7) on a trial basis for a year.
  2. Ask big businesses to stagger work hours for employees on a trial basis for a year.
  3. Move government offices to the West side.
  4. Complete the UH West campus (it’s been 6 years!) so students can attend classes near their community.
  5. Improve the school systems on the West side so parents don’t seek district exceptions.
  6. Offer a three-year tax break to biz owners to move their business to the West side.
  7. Create a contra flow lane in the afternoon that is a direct route to Kunia and Kapolei.

SA: Creative thinking needed while we wait for rail to debut

read ... Traffic

Riders vent frustrations over Handi-Van delays

HNN: "I am so fed up with you guys. Then you wonder why we get sick and die. You guys are doing it to us. You're making us wait so long for you," said Rose Pou, Handi-Van rider from Kapahulu. "What do you want us to do pass out on you guys? I've had friends die because they're waiting on you guys. And you guys don't show up when you say you are. Why should we make the damn reservations if you're not going to show up when you say you are!"

"I want you to refute that! Right now in front of everybody!" shouted Richard De Conti, Handi-Van rider from Kalihi.

This room full of Handi-Van riders is angry over the new system the City implemented one month ago.  Instead of making a reservation seven days in advance it's now two days.  It's supposed to be more accurate but users say they're waiting by the curb more than an hour.

read ... Fed Up

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