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Tuesday, November 25, 2014
November 25, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:40 PM :: 4422 Views

University of Hawaii won’t talk about sex education program

Tommy Waters Sues for Recount in East Oahu Council Race

Tommy Waters' Old Boy Network up to No Good Again

Hawaii, Alaska Only States to add No Ultra-Rich for 2013

Matson Hikes Rates 5.4%

East Hawaii health services could face ‘catastrophic cuts’ Thanks to Abercrombie's HGEA, UPW Contracts

HTH: “Catastrophic cuts to services” are on the horizon if legislators don’t provide more funding this year, says the head of East Hawaii’s public health care system.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii operations are expected to see a revenue shortfall of $29 million in the coming year out of a total operations budget of $160 million, said East Hawaii Interim CEO Dan Brinkman. The following year, the shortfall is predicted to balloon to $35 million.

“We’re worried,” he said in an interview last week. “We have a lot of reason to be concerned for next year.”

This summer, East Hawaii facilities like Hilo Medical Center made cuts in various areas to help make up a $9 million shortfall for the year, including cutting some nursing positions...."

The system continues to wrestle with declining revenues due to increasing costs and lower reimbursement rates, he explained. Those are perennial issues, however. The big hit next year will come as a result of HHSC instituting a series of pay raises negotiated through the collective bargaining process.

“The previous administration, which has now been voted out, negotiated for all our work force a series of raises over consecutive years that, to be honest, we’re not able to pay out of operations,” he said. “They’ve always done that, but this is different in that, in the past, those pay raises were funded by the legislature and the executive branch. That didn’t happen last year,” he said.

Brinkman said that leaves the East Hawaii region with $18 or $19 million in new labor expenses for next year, as well as $10 million in fringe rate increases, which may or may not be covered by the state.

“We’ve been told by the outgoing administration that we’d need to come up with that. You put the two together and that’s $29 million in increases, which is about 20 percent of our operating budget. … That’s a big deficit, and minor cuts aren’t going to cover it,” he said.

State Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, who serves as chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said Monday that bolstering the state’s public health system is at the top of his to-do list this Legislative Session.

“Without reform and support, we would see a serious loss of services, which I’m totally opposed to,” he said. “I expect there will be an emergency appropriation request in February or early March, and I will support that as health chair.”

Green said that HHSC’s regions across the state are faced with similar shortfalls, and emergency infusions of cash from the state will be necessary to keep them going until a long-term fix can be set in place.

“Without it, my prediction is we’ll see 10 percent of services cut each year for the next three years,” he said.

That long-term fix, he added, will likely come in the form of local public-private partnerships. For instance, private organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Hawaii Pacific Health have shown interest in partnering with Maui, which faces a $6.4 million shortfall this year.

But, Brinkman said, such a partnership with East Hawaii may not be as attractive to potential partners, when one takes into account the fact that about 75 percent of the region’s reimbursements come from Medicare and Medicaid.

“We’re a very poor region,” he said. “Maui’s a much more affluent area. The businesses are different.”

Meanwhile: Hospital Reform? Randy Perriera Says "F*** You"

read ... Thanks to HGEA

Star-Adv: DLNR Choice to Keep Child Porn Convict "normalizes his illegal behavior"

SA: ...DLNR Director William Aila is undermining the mission of the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and downplaying the seriousness of possessing child pornography by keeping acclaimed shark expert Randy Honebrink in the same high-profile job Honebrink held before pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Aila insists that he's simply following accepted processes by allowing Honebrink, who was the media's go-to expert on shark attacks, to return to his supervisory role as aquatic resource information and education coordinator when he gets out of prison. Honebrink is using vacation time to serve his two-month sentence, which will be followed by five years of supervised release. He is expected back on the job next month.

Hawaii law appears to give Aila more authority than he's willing to exercise in this case. The Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union of which Honebrink is a member, confirmed that felony conviction is potential grounds for dismissal. The HGEA's Randy Perreira emphasized that the union is not the driver in this case. "This is not a contractual issue. This is DLNR's call," he said.

Finding or keeping a job is an important factor in the rehabilitation of convicted criminals. Honebrink certainly has a right to make a living after he has served time. But keeping him in such an authoritative, influential and high-profile state job normalizes his illegal behavior and diminishes the seriousness of an offense that has real victims — the children who are abused, traumatized and exploited for the sexual pleasure of those who view the explicit images. Honebrink admitted downloading sexually explicit photographs of two boys, ages 12 and 14. He was caught in an international sting that resulted in nearly 350 arrests....

read ... Normalizing the Behavior

Ige's leadership style about to be tested in new setting

SA: Ige, like Abercrombie, has only legislative experience without ever serving as an executive.

"In the Legislature you can pontificate and say this and that, but you don't have to carry it out, you don't have to be responsible for the outcome because you have other people you can blame because you operate in a group," said one veteran Democrat.

"The executive is very difficult. The buck stops with you," the lawmaker warned....

House Speaker Joe Souki, who has been representing Maui as a Democrat since 1982, said Ige is likely to be more conservative than Abercrombie.

"We can only hope that he will be a good steward. I see him as a stable captain of the ship," said 81-year-old Souki.

"His style is kind of similar to (Gov. George) Ariyoshi, maybe not as conservative on social issues, but certainly on financial ones," Souki predicted....

Senate President Donna Kim agreed, saying, "I think he will be good to work with, I think he will be very collaborative." ...

Souki predicts that because Ige has such a short time between the election and inauguration, the new governor will not have much time to set an ambitious early agenda.

"I don't see any big programs coming from the administration next year. If there are any major programs, they will come from the Legislature," Souki said in an interview.

"I expect the first year to be relatively quiet while everybody gets orientated," Souki said....

Legislators know that every consensus-building Democratic buddy can become an unhearing roadblock when one side wants something the other side does not.

"In the election we all came together at the end because of David, but I don't know how long that is going to keep on translating over the next four years," one legislator said.

read ... Ige's leadership style about to be tested in new setting

Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Suspended in Negligent Homicide Case

CB: Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro initially declined to reveal what, if any, disciplinary action had been taken against the deputy prosecutor, citing what he called employee confidentiality concerns.

But state law requires disciplinary information about public employees to be released if the employees have been suspended or discharged. So on Monday Kaneshiro’s office provided Civil Beat with a letter, dated Oct. 27, suspending the deputy, Clinton Piper, for four days — Nov. 5 through Nov. 10.

read ... Negligent

Hawaii Needs To Stop ‘Scam Artist’ Prison Guards

CB: Correction officers calling in sick are costing taxpayers millions of dollars in overtime and preventing families from visiting inmates.

read ... Scam Artists

DoE Spends $1 million on time clocks, Union Doesn't Want Them

KHON: ...At the Kapolei state building, in the break room of a DOE office, behind the recycling and the to-be-filed pile, are stacks and stacks of time clocks –- nearly $1 million worth of them. The machines are still nicely boxed, all taped up and just sit, collecting dust and cobwebs.

($1000 ea x 1,000 time clocks = $1M)

“In May 2010, a decision was made to implement time clocks to better monitor and have more accountability of our employees,” said DOE spokesperson Donalyn Dela Cruz.

Though the time clocks were purchased more than four years ago, they never got farther than that room.

PHOTO: Kronos 8602800-501

“Fast forward to 2012 when we had new leadership come in and it still hadn’t been implemented,” Dela Cruz said, “and the reason for that was there were other things that needed to be attached to the time clock.”

Other things like software, plugs, wires, labor to hang them, and all that tallied up to nearly $6 million to install.

“All of that added up in terms of cost outside of just the time clocks,” Dela Cruz said, “and therefore our leadership decided not to pursue this anymore.”...

“We weren’t aware of it,” said Hawaii Government Employees Association executive director Randy Perreira, “and if it weren’t for your story, frankly, I wouldn’t know anything about this today. It’s somewhat of a surprise to us. It’s an interesting and curious expenditure.”

“We just found this out from KHON,” said Hawaii State Teachers Association president Wil Okabe. “I’m very surprised because we weren’t involved in the process about the time clocks.”

The DOE says the idea would be to have the hourly staff punch in and out, and have even the salaried staff like teachers punch in once a day as proof of presence. It’s all on sign-in, sign-out now....

Always Investigating asked the unions, if DOE tries to implement this kind of a system, will there be a problem with the collective bargaining agreement?

“I think we need to be part of the discussion,” Okabe said.

“While it doesn’t require mutual agreement, there are a number of issues we are raising about having people clock in and out,” Perreira said....

read ... Nearly $1 million in DOE time clocks gather dust

Living Hawaii: Where the Rent Is Too Damn High

CB: Islanders pay far more on average than in any other state to live in rentals — and that's just the beginning.

read ... The Rent

Homeless Dude Leaves Shelter, Plants His Family in front of Blaisdell to get Free Housing

KITV: It's not known whether the city will force the family to pickup their belongings and move elsewhere, but Souza says homeless shelters are not an option. He said both his daughters became ill recently (insert excuse here) at the Institute for Human Services family shelter in Iwilei and he got into a dispute with staff (insert another excuse here) at the Next Step shelter in Kakaako and decided to leave. (BINGO!)

Former Next Step manager Jason Espero would not talk specifically about Duane Souza's case, but said whenever a person breaks shelter rules he or she is asked to leave.

Meanwhile, Souza and his wife are hoping for a more permanent place to stay through the city's Housing First program, (that's not what Housing First is supposed to be) but have not been contacted by any official or outreach worker about that possibility.

"I read in the newspaper last week that they're going to house 50 families by the end of this year," said Serena Souza. "So, I'm hoping that we're one of those families...."

read ... Gimmie Free Stuff

Reforming the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission

IM: Proposal:  The Commission must file some type of decision (schedule, issues or parties) within a year or the proceedings is automatically closed....

Proposal:  Any docket which has no substantive action for two years is automatically closed....

Proposal:  Any motion to intervene in a docket is deemed approved unless the Commission determines otherwise within three months....

Proposal:  The Commission will establish and post a standardized confidentiality agreement. Any proposed deviation must be circulated among all parties and intervenors and may be approved by the Commission after it has determined who is in the docket....

Proposal:  The title page and a brief description of all classified documents is deemed public information....

Proposal: The Commission maintain on its web site a list of all reports filed with the Commission and where they can be found....

Proposal: Electronic documents are discoverable....

Proposal: Standardized documents stating that an entity has no opinion are banned....

Proposal: All Information Requests must be timely filed with the Commission....

Proposal: The Commission maintain on its web site the Financial Disclosure Forms for the three Commissioners, the Chief Policy Advisory and the Chief Counsel. Included as part of the disclosure is an updated list of conferences and meetings attended....

Proposal: The Commission maintain on its web page a table listing contested energy dockets, the parties and the next schedule event.

read ... Reforming the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission

Oahu Solar Permits Down 58%

PBN: Oahu, which encompasses the largest solar energy market in Hawaii, continues its downward spiral, in terms of permitting, with its 18th straight month of year-over-year decline, according to data collected by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Hilo-based ProVision Solar.

In October, 518 permits were issued compared to 1,246 permits during October 2013, a dip of 58 percent.

Year-to-date, 5,394 permits were issued compared to 11,123 permits at the same point last year, a decrease of 51 percent.

PBN: One of Hawaii's top solar firms expands to New York

read ... Hawaii's largest solar energy market continues to suffer

Cancer Center Seeking New Director

PBN: The search for a new director has begun, and Hedges says that he will work with the UH Cancer Center community, healthcare leaders, legislators, UH leadership, and cancer survivors. Hedges also plans to consult with the center's former director, Carl-Wilhelm Vogel. Vogel has been a vocal critic of Carbone, and was quoted in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as saying that Carbone had led the center on a "downward spiral" and was "a vindictive person incapable of running a cancer center."

read ... Cancer

New Kauai County Attorney Recognized Flaws in Anti-GMO Initiative

KE: Though Mauna Kea is young — he graduated UH Richardson Law School in 2004 — he's earned some solid stripes via baptism by fire and innovation, along with plain hard work.

The innovation, which also reflects his Native Hawaiian heritage, includes creating stewardship agreements with kanaka and community organizations and using ho’oponopono to complete the county's Section 106 obligations (a federal consultation process to identify historic and culturally significant sites) for Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the coastal path.

The baptism by fire involves the wrath he incurred for his controversial opinion that Bill 2491, the GMO/pesticide regulatory measure, was legally flawed. His opinion was vindicated when a federal judge overturned the law on the grounds that it was pre-empted by the state's authority.

And as I reported previously, he's used his volunteer position on the Kauai-Niihau Burial Council to identify and record known burial sites so as to avoid inadvertent discoveries of iwi kupuna during construction....

KGI:  Kauai County Attorney Castillo to resign

read ... Mauna Kea

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