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Friday, November 21, 2014
November 21, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 4373 Views

Feds Cut Maui Co Hospital Funding, Reclassify Kula, Lanai and Molokai as 'Urban'

CATO: Abercrombie Boosted Spending $900M

Should Hawaii Create Statewide police training and standards board?

Unexpected Common Ground: Grassroot Institute and the Sovereignty Movement

$1 Billion Deferred Maintenance on HHSC Hospitals

PBN: Linda Rosen's experience as a member of the board of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp, was a compelling factor in the decision to name her CEO of the system of 13 state-owned hospitals that faces a $48 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, according to the chair of the organization's board of directors....

At a recently PBN roundtable discussion among health care executives, Edward Chu, CFO of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., described the challenges that the hospital system is facing, including nearly $1 billion in deferred maintenance at their facilities — some of which are more than 100 years old.

With declining revenue, HHSC is considering a public-private hospital partnership, but the feasibility of that is uncertain until the upcoming legislative session. Chu said that HHSC hopes such a partnership will enhance the quality of care HHSC provides while reducing the cost to the state of Hawaii.

PBN:  Will Henderson on health care in Hawaii

read ... One Billion Dollars 

How you can get involved in helping to improve public school system

PBN: The Education Institute of Hawaii is sponsoring a School Empowerment Conference on Friday, Nov. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Moanalua High School. Principals and teachers will attend the conference, but it is also open to anyone interested in improving Hawaii's public school system. The speakers will be international experts and local decision makers discussing ways to change Hawaii's Department of Education into a school-centered system.

read ... Get Involved

Kaneshiro Can't Escape Blame for Lost Felony Cases

SA: Prosecutors had decided to take the case about a year after Nakama's death and to charge the truck driver with third-degree negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.

But when the case files were misplaced, the deputy prosecutor in charge lost track, with the result that the two-year statute of limitations on the prosecution expired. It may not be the biggest case of the year, but failure to get a verdict remains a miscarriage of justice for grieving relatives, who also face a more difficult path to success in a civil lawsuit.

The bungling was not limited to this case. The prosecutor acknowledged the discovery of 15 to 20 sex assault cases that were never filed; those files had languished until after the deputy assigned to them left the agency shortly after Kaneshiro took office.

The fact that the cases predated his tenure is not an adequate excuse. Kaneshiro said that installing electronic case-tracking system was a priority when he took office in October 2010, but that doesn't explain why it took until December 2013 for the system to go live.

And blame for any problem with office management can't be placed entirely on technology. Staying on top of what the office staff is doing is an essential function of an administrator....

Kaneshiro will have to defend to the voters how those cases played out, but above all, will have to show he can run a tighter ship at the Prosecutor's Office than is evident now.

read ... 2016 is Coming

Here’s why Hawaii’s anti-GMO laws matter

Grist: On Election Day two weeks ago, Maui County, which includes the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, approved a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified crops. This decision, by one small county, could throw a monkey wrench into the entire production system for genetically engineered seeds.

When the island of Kauai passed GM-farming restrictions last year (later overturned in court), I wrote that it could have an outsized impact on the industry. Hawaii is unique: It’s the only place inside the U.S. with a year-round growing season. Being inside the U.S. frees companies from a great deal of red tape (they don’t need to get approval under two different regulatory systems as they would abroad), and the tropical climate allows for multiple crops each year.

Kauai is important to the biotech industry, but Maui and Molokai may be even more important. As Monsanto acknowledged: “The majority of the corn seed we sell to farmers in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. has originated from Monsanto’s Maui operations.” If the law stands, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, the biotech firms with operations in Maui County, will be left scrambling to find a different way of producing seeds. Prices would almost certainly go up.

JDS: The State and Local GMO Regulatory Landscape – Post-Election Edition

read ... Here’s why Hawaii’s anti-GMO laws matter

Even from Grave, Inouye Fingers in Many Pies

SA: Resume highlights at the moment for the senator's former chief of staff include:

» Executive director of Move Oahu Forward, a pro-rail organization she joined in May 2013.

» Consultant to the Military Affairs Council of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, which is concerned about the economic impact of a reduced Army presence in Hawaii.

» Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute Fund, which has been soliciting private and public funds to establish a Daniel K. Inouye Center for Democratic Leadership at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, estimated to eventually cost about $38 million.

On Tuesday it was announced that Sabas now is also a lobbyist for UH, under a $189,000-a-year contract signed last month with The National Group in Washington, D.C., whose owner, D.C. resident Vincent Versage has partnered with her company, Kaimana Hila, to seek federal research dollars for UH.

read ... From the Grave

Duckworth-Pelosi Fight Mirrored in Takai vs Gabbard

Borreca: Helping Duckworth vote would have hurt Pelosi's control of her already shrinking caucus.

Two Democrats both wanted the top Democratic seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Washington Post called it "one of the most bitter, intraparty feuds in years."

It is a glamorous committee handling energy, food and drug safety, gas prices and even the Affordable Care Act.

Fighting for the seat were Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. Pelosi wanted Eshoo while Duckworth sides with Pallone.

On Wednesday, Pallone won by a vote of 100 to 90.

Does it matter to the average voters in Hawaii that it is Eshoo or Pallone?

No, but like an onion, there are many rings in politics.

Hawaii's Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is linked to Pelosi, mostly because Gov. Neil Abercrombie has taken her under his wing and used his considerable influence with Pelosi to help her get committee assignments.

At the same time, Rep.-elect Mark Takai's victory was in part due to the help he got from his old National Guard and UH buddy, Tammy Duckworth.

read ... Knife fight in a Phone Booth

Sierra Club violated Hawaii campaign spending law supporting LoPresti

HR: ...the state campaign spending commission said under Hawaii law, the Sierra Club mailer constitutes an illegal contribution to LoPresti’s campaign.

...The campaign spending limit to a House candidate is $2,000, but the flier cost $1,700 above the limit.

...instead of fining the Sierra Club $500 as staff recommended, commissioners issued a cease and desist order.

read ... Sierra Club

With Atheists Gone, Honolulu Begins to Celebrate Christmas

KHON: Crews installed a 55-foot tree on the lawn fronting city hall Thursday morning. It was donated by Pearl City resident Steven Dumbrigue and harvested Tuesday.

The tree will be lit up on Saturday, Dec. 6, as part of Honolulu City Lights’ opening night celebration.

Festivities will include a 50-plus unit Public Workers Electric Light Parade and a concert on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center grounds.

The celebration kicks off a month-long holiday display of trees, wreaths and oversize sculptures, including the famous Shaka Santa lounging with Tutu Mele at the City Hall fountain.

Oct, 2014: Hawaii Atheists Move to Michigan, Begin Suing 

read ... No Mo Atheists

Open Records?  $47,000 to get HPD Files on Cachola

KHON: KHON2 used open records laws to try and get internal emails from the chief and the districts involved and got a big bill instead.

“It does seem like having someone go through that information it shouldn’t cost $47,000 dollars worth of their time or their effort or their energy. You could pay somebody a year’s work for $47,000,” said Senator Will Espero.

That’s right. A $47,000 bill if KHON2 wanted the information.

Tonight at 10 p.m., the city not only stands by the high price but says it should be much higher.

Public records advocates explain why this type of response to a request like this is becoming common.

read ... Pricey

Desperate to Keep Homeless People Homeless, Usual Suspects Rally Against Sit-Lie Bill

HNN: "In the Streets" Community Organizer Raina Whiting works with homeless families in Kakaako. Whiting said, "We come in and give them things taken away in a raid. Like toothbrushes, shampoo, soap and bedding."

Mayor Caldwell has said he'll sign the sit-lie expansion bill into law by the December 2nd deadline if it gets the okay from the City's legal team.

read ... Keep the Homeless on the Streets

UH Launches Latest Tech Accelerator

CB: XLR8UH, UH’s startup accelerator and “proof of concept center,” began last March when Vassilis Syrmos, UH’s vice president of research and innovation, announced an investment of up to $1 million per year for at least three years to help transform UH-affiliated innovations into businesses. With over $300 million in research funds pouring into UH Manoa in 2014 alone, it’s not surprising that UH faculty and students are cranking out some impressive technologies that could have commercial applications.

read ... Doomed

Lame Duck Kauai Council Votes to Impose GMO Tax on Ag Lands

KGI: Land values and real property taxes for some agricultural properties on Kauai may be going up next year.

The Kauai County Council, by a 4-2 vote, passed a measure on Wednesday that will separate agricultural lands on Kauai into three categories — pasture, diversified agriculture and biotech research — when county officials are calculating real property tax assessments.

Those properties in the biotech research category, as a part of the approved law, would be assessed based on the amounts paid in lease rents instead of fair market values. All properties, however, would be subject to the county’s agricultural real property tax class rate of $6.75 per $1,000 in assessed valuation.

“What this means is that there will be no selecting out of biotech agriculture for a special tax rate — it will remain the agricultural tax rate but the valuation will change, and it will be based on conventional systems of valuation and on actual lease rents,” Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said.

Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa voted against the measure and said they were worried that the new tax laws will unfairly target the seed companies on Kauai....

Grove Farm Company Senior Vice President Michael Tresler said he is worried about the unintended consequences that the new law might have on regular farmers who grow genetically modified crops.

He also echoed previous concerns that the new tax laws will single out the seed companies on Kauai.

“Just so we generally understand, again, we’re trying to single out the seed corn companies, and I think the public has spoken on that issue pretty clearly,” Tresler said....  (Referring to the lameness of the anti-GMO ducks.)

read ... Tax Hike

Navy: Anti-Sonar Hype has no Scientific basis

KGI: The U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor says community concerns that the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise and Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility are negatively impacting marine life are unfounded.

In early October, after hearing from several constituents, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard requested information about the Navy’s efforts to monitor the effects of RIMPAC and PMRF on the ocean and marine ecosystems.

“In response to concerns of your constituents, there has been no scientific evidence that RIMPAC 2014 or exercises at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) have caused damage to marine life,” USPF Commander Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. wrote in a response to Gabbard.

In his three-page letter, Harris discussed the aggressive steps taken by the Navy to avoid harming marine mammals, sea turtles and corals, through the use of protective measures during training, especially with sonar and explosives.

Harris also pointed out that the Navy funded over $300 million in independent research over the past 10 years, making it a world leader in marine mammal research and monitoring....

Gordon LaBedz of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter, which sued the Navy over the 2006 RIMPAC exercises, took a break from fighting against dairy farms on behalf of luxury tourism interests and described Harris’ response letter as (insert usual rhetoric here) ....

(Shoreline cesspools owned by Surfrider activists in Hanalei are a leading cause of coral disease.)

read ... No Scientific Basis

Eco-Lawyers Sue to Gut Samoa, Guam, NMI Tuna Quota

AP: The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which regulates commercial fishing between Indonesia and Hawaii, has established an annual quota of 3,763 metric tons of bigeye for U.S.-flagged longline vessels in the central and western Pacific.

But the lawsuit said the National Marine Fisheries Service's new rule invents separate additional catch limits for three U.S. Pacific territories: American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The rule then allows the territories to allocate up to half of their catch limit to Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels. This nearly doubles the amount of bigeye that U.S. ships may catch in the central and western Pacific, the lawsuit said.

The complaint asked the court to void the rule and declare the agency in violation of federal law.

PDF: Lawsuit Text

read ... Who needs tuna? Soylent Green is delicious. 

Honolulu Council Bill 65 Sets Parking Fees for Car Sharing Providers

SA: Introduced by former Councilman Breene Hari­moto, Bill 65 calls for the city to charge fees so that it can be compensated for lost parking revenues as well as parking decals that would be provided to car-sharing organizations.

Deputy Transportation Services Director Mark Garrity said there are two basic car-sharing models. One is based on dedicated parking spaces in which cars are tied to specified stalls and locations.

"You know exactly where that car is going to be" when deciding to make a reservation for it, he said. "You go use it, and you bring it back to that spot."

The bill calls for annual stall fees of up to $3,000 each, depending on location.

The other model, dubbed "free-floating" or a "one-way rental," allows a rental company to park cars throughout a jurisdiction, with customers using a smart-device application to locate available vehicles.

Car-sharing vehicles are typically fixed with decals "so that if they do end up in a metered spot, the user doesn't actually have to pay the meter," Garrity said.

read ... Car Sharing

Hawaii Skinniest State

DM: Only Hawaii had an obesity rate under 30 percent.  A few states, including Louisiana and Mississippi, had obesity rates over 40 percent.  In previous years reports found that most states had rates under 30 percent with no state over 40 percent.  Mississippi and West Virginia are the fattest states in the nation.  Colorado and Hawaii are the leanest.

read ... Skinny

Hawaii DLNR Employee Heading Back to Work as "Education Coordinator" after Serving Time for Gay Kiddie Porn

SA: Randy Honebrink will retain his title as aquatic resource information and education coordinator when he completes his sentence next month, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources told KHON. Honebrink is using vacation time to serve his sentence, the department said.  (Translation: He's being paid while in prison.)

Honebrink, often interviewed by the media when there's a shark attack, was sentenced to two months of incarceration and five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty in federal court to downloading sexually explicit photographs of two boys ages 12 and 14. (They like 'em young.) He was caught in an international sting that resulted in nearly 350 arrests....

Honebrink's conviction can't keep him from keeping his job, labor rights lawyer David Simons said.

"So people can come back and get rehabilitated unless there is a rational basis," he said. "If you are a child pornographer you're not going to go back and teach kindergarten ... but the fact that you've had a conviction in your background doesn't mean you can ever get a job again."

read ... Gay Kiddie Porn

Hawaii Tranny Arrested for Stalking

DM: The ex is most likely his her former wife, Nancy Beatie, who he she filed for divorce from in 2012.

Earlier this year Thomas had accused Nancy of verbally assaulting him her and his her new girlfriend, Amber Nicholas.

Thomas and Nancy were married in Hawaii in 2003, and have three children, all of whom Thomas gave birth to.

A judge just granted the two the right to get divorced in August of this year, a divorce that had previously been denied as it was not viewed as legal by some courts.

read ... About how normal gay marriage is

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