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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
November 26, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:10 PM :: 6141 Views

Judge Kurren Strikes Down Hawaii County Anti-GMO Ordinance

Pat Saiki: Hawaii Republicans must have dialogue – not debate – with voters

Fact: Bartender Wins Most Votes in OHA Election

Hawaii Taxes on Poverty-Level Income 2nd Highest in USA

Carbone: Opponents Motivated by Jealousy and Envy

HCDA Issues RFP for Kakaako Micro Units

Kauai Dairy Farm Receives Approval

Feds Pay SolarCity to Analyze HECO Distributed Generation

Colette Machado Resigns as OHA Chair

Another Homosexual Leader Busted for Homosexual Child Molestation

Abercrombie Office Employee Allegedly Steals then goes to Work for Ken Ito

KHON: A state employee has been charged with felony theft after an act she allegedly committed while working for the governor.

Authorities said Roxanne Kamalu used a computer in September 2013 to spend hundreds of dollars in state money for personal benefit.

What exactly Kamalu purchased has not been disclosed, but she was indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree theft and arrested by state sheriffs on Nov. 13 after turning herself in.

Kamalu posted $7,000 bail, then pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Circuit Court last Thursday.

According to the governor’s office, Kamalu worked in the fourth floor executive branch office as an administrative services officer until about one month after the alleged theft.

She then went to work as the office manager for state Rep. Ken Ito (D-Kaneohe, Maunawili, Olomana), a role Ito’s office confirms she still holds today.

Kamalu’s name came up quite a bit when Always Investigating researched a recent story about how lawmakers spend their slush fund called the “legislative allowance.”

read ... Legislative Allowance Next?

Hawaii's state hospitals in throes of financial crisis

KITV: "I am concerned not only for my safety, and for the wellness of the others because of the short staff. The good nurses and CNA's seem to be burning out and are unable to come to your aid when needed" - Chief of Staff Dr Lester Yim....

The state has already begun the process of reducing its staff. the bumping process for union workers has begun. At this stage it's not clear how many could lose their jobs next month. The long term future of the state hospitals will be up to the new governor and lawmakers....

ILind: Behind the health care headlines

read ... Hawaii's state hospitals in throes of financial crisis

Hawaii Makes List of Top Medical Layoffs -- Twice

BHR: St. Francis Healthcare of Hawaii in Honolulu said it laid off 110 employees and eliminated its hospice and home health services to achieve financial sustainability. The system ceased offering a home health program on June 30 and also announced plans to close another hospice unit....

Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, Calif., laid off 101 employees of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, which operates one hospital and 20 clinics on three Hawaii islands. The layoffs were issued in February and affected 66 security guards and 16 transporters, among other positions. They health system attributed the layoffs to organizational restructuring for improved operations....

read ... Becker Hospital Review

Good Reasons to Support Sit-Lie

MW: I do feel for the truly indigent, the handicapped through no abuse of drugs and alcohol, and all the children.

That said, I will not waste compassion on those who come here to escape the Mainland winter, locals who prefer the sidewalk and park life to work, or the street people either doing drugs or too lazy to take any job.

Sorry, that’s how it is with me — and I suspect with many of you.

That’s why you should support our new sit-lie ordinance, even if it discomforts you a bit or stings your civil liberties conscience....

I initially had a problem with it. Criminalizing homelessness is waste-time. Courts are unlikely to OK that, and homeless cannot pay fines.

Then I thought it through. It’s not being homeless that’s against our new law. It’s about no one having a special right to occupy and obstruct sidewalks, parks and beaches. Even labor pickets must keep moving and cannot erect sidewalk structures.

Nobody’s going to be arrested for being homeless, unkempt or walking down a sidewalk, through a park or sitting on a park bench. But I’d hope the city will apply sit-lie to those “artists” who occupy Waikiki sidewalks every night.

Confiscating the occupiers’ belongings may seem harsh, but it’s a reasonable defense. You give an inch and suddenly you have an encampment of 50 tents or a dozen silver-painted “performers.”

We’re feeding the hungry through Hawaii Foodbank and other help agencies. We have plenty of shelter space available for the needy....

We cannot support every unemployed Mainlander who comes here in winter. We can’t support all those young men who hang around Waikiki panhandling for marijuana....

SA: Chinatown Fountain Removed Because Homeless Were Using it as Bathroom

read ... Good Reasons To Support Sit-Lie

Hawaii's Path to Becoming Detroit

MW: “Let’s see,” my friend wrote: “We have an ordinance on Maui/Molokai that would put up to 700-800 people out of work.

“The National Park Service’s petition to declare the Keauhou Aquifer a state water management area is poised to shut down development and public investments (a new courthouse, the community college at Palamanui).

“Lower Puna’s burning up, fast becoming a kipuka in crisis.

“Forces are at work to shut down HC&S on Maui, the same folks who brought the GMO initiative.

“Lawsuits in three counties over the GMO issue.

“We have a lawsuit to block a dairy at Mahaulepu, Kauai.

“We have a community protest movement on the North Shore of Kauai to block Mr. Omidyar’s planned development.

“The military will soon begin its analysis of force reductions, likely leading to withdrawal of the Stryker Brigade from Hawaii at the least.

“All those new high rises in Kakaako are deliberately a childless environment. Offshore investors don’t pay state income taxes?

“Who’s going to pay for your pension and health plan in 2025, Dan? And all of your union friends’ …

“So, go ahead, be ‘delighted’ about the vote on Maui.”

His point, a good one, was that we can’t continue to “kill the productive sector and revenue base of a society.”

And if we do?

He attached a photo montage of abandoned buildings in the late, great city of Detroit.

read ... Detroit

Will Ige's AG Drop Appeal of Financial Disclosure Order?

CB: Ige was highly critical of Abercrombie’s opposition to extending the financial disclosure requirement to the 15 boards, which are among the most powerful in the state.

“I think it’s incredible that the governor is planning to veto a bill that increases government transparency and accountability and was unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate,” Ige said in a press release during the campaign. “The Legislature listened to the many citizens who want a more open government, and I call on the governor to do the same.”

“If I were governor, I would have signed this bill immediately because I believe in an open government that is held accountable and discourages conflicts of interest.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Ige should make good on that promise immediately. He needs to tell David Louie — or whoever becomes AG — to drop the appeal and release the records.  It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars and valuable court time to delay the inevitable.

read ... Drop the Appeal

There’s Big Money in Offering Discounted or Free Cellular Phone Service in Hawaii

CB: “Even assuming that the number of households located in the HHLs has increased to nearly 11,000 in just the last four years, and even assuming that every single household in the HHLs is on a Lifeline-qualifying public assistance program, then Blue Jay would have to have succeeded, in one year, in signing up every single HHL household for Lifeline, completely locking out its ETC competitors,” Caliboso wrote.

“To have accomplished this — let alone in just one year — seems more than remarkable,” he said.

U.S. Census data for 2010 shows there were 7,294 households on Hawaiian Home Lands. With only one Lifeline subsidy allowed per household, the $2.23 million that Blue Jay received during the first half of 2014 equates to an average of nearly 11,000 households, Caliboso said.

That means the amount of federal subsidies being overpaid to Blue Jay since being designated an ETC in Hawaii likely exceeds $100,000 per month and appears on track to exceed $1.2 million per year, he said.

The number of households on Hawaiian Home Lands has indeed risen, but not by that much. There were 8,329 residential leases on Hawaiian Home Lands as of June 30, according to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which has been inundated with calls from Blue Jay customers who were told by Blue Jay to get certified by DHHL.

PUC Chair Mina Morita and DCA Executive Director Jeff Ono told Civil Beat this week that it’s not their responsibility to investigate Caliboso’s claims, pointing instead to the Federal Communications Commission....

read ... Another DHHL Phone Scam

3 Lessons Hawaii Learned from Gamifying Government

GT: Abercrombie hired me to modernize and make Hawaii’s government technology the best in the nation. We partnered with our state portal provider, NIC subsidiary Hawaii Information Consortium, and turned government IT upside down by adding gamification, long before the term "gamification" was in vogue....

read ... Gamifying

Caldwell Dumps Ember Shinn for Roy Ame­miya Jr

SA: A key figure in the administration of former Mayor Jeremy Harris, Ame­miya was finance director when Harris decided to merge the Department of Finance with the Department of Budget to create the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. Ame­miya then became the city's first BFS director.

Property tax assessors, in 1998, told reporters that when another member of Harris' Cabinet tried to pressure them into raising appraisals to generate more money for the city, Ame­miya refused to allow it to happen. Several City Council members at the time also applauded Ame­miya's integrity and civility.

As for his new gig, Ame­miya, in a statement, thanked Caldwell for giving him a chance to return to public service. "A lot of important and exciting work is being done at the city, especially in building a strong infrastructure for future generations."

A banker at Bank of Hawaii for nearly two decades before he joined the city, Ame­miya was a vice president with Central Pacific Bank after leaving the city and before joining ‘Olelo in 2010.

Born and raised in Wahiawa and a 1973 graduate of Lei­le­hua High School, Ame­miya is not his family's only public figure. Corinne Wata­nabe, his sister, was a longtime associate judge on the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, while his uncle Ronald Ame­miya was a onetime state attorney general under former Gov. George Ari­yo­shi. Cousin Keith Ame­miya, Ronald's son, has served as executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletics Association. His brother-in-law is former state Sen. Randall Iwase.

On Tuesday, Caldwell described Ame­miya as knowledgeable about city government and the city budget process. What's more, "he understands politics," the mayor said....

read ... Jeremy Harris Retread 

Kaneshiro handled domestic abuse case properly

SA: ...Over the past six years, I have trained prosecutors and police around the country on "evidence-based prosecution."

An evidence-based prosecution attempts to hold batterers accountable by convicting the defendant after trial, or having the defendant plead guilty without the cooperation from the victim. The reason for evidence-based prosecutions is, unlike other criminal cases, more than 75 percent of domestic violence victims refuse to cooperate with the prosecution at trial.

On Oct. 29, a commentary entitled "The Truth about Grand Juries" appeared in your newspaper, authored by three faculty members of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

The article attacked the prosecutor and the grand jury process on the handling of an apparent domestic violence incident caught on videotape involving a member of the Honolulu Police Department where the victim refused to cooperate with the police in their investigation....

The suggestion that a grand jury can indict anyone, anytime, for anything, is simply untrue and insulting to the grand jurors who took the time and effort to listen to and weigh the evidence before them.

Finally, Kaneshiro's attempt to proceed without the cooperation of the victim should be applauded. Evidence-based prosecutions are some of the most difficult cases to prove. This is because the victims themselves often attempt to undermine the prosecution of those cases. Very few counties in the country ever take the time and resources to attempt an evidence-based prosecution on these very difficult cases.

After meeting and training the domestic violence prosecutors of Honolulu, I can assure you they work very hard on these difficult and dangerous cases. The fact that Kaneshiro seeks out prosecutors with experience from across the country to train the entire staff and the police department on how to effectively handle evidence-based prosecutions, speaks volumes about the commitment to holding batterers accountable, and keeping victims of domestic violence safe in their homes....

read ... Prosecutor

HCDA Approves 3 Projects, Gives Director 5% Raise

KHON: The Ward Village Gateway project received the green light Tuesday from the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

The project would replace the area that currently houses Ward Warehouse with two mixed-use towers containing approximately 236 residences, 20,000-square feet of retail space and a one-acre public park.

It is the first residential and commercial development project in Phase Two of the Ward Village Master Plan. A second project features a flagship 50,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market and additional retail space....

read ... Ward Village Gateway project approved by HCDA

Attorney General Investigators raid Kalihi Charter School--$12,000 in Acupuncture Expenses

KHON: Officers with the attorney general’s office went to Halau Lokahi at about 8:30 a.m. and walked out shortly after with boxes of documents from the school’s offices. Other office supplies including a computer monitor were also confiscated.

The executive director of the charter school commission says after auditing the expenses from last year, when the school wound up more than $400,000 in debt, there were about $100,000 in undocumented expenses.

“There was a lot of travel to the Big Island, other travel expenses that it wasn’t clear what was the school purpose of the trip,” said Tom Hutton, the commission’s executive director....

“There were some things like for acupuncture services or for healing oils. Charter schools do a lot of non-traditional education so we just wanted to know how is this a school expense can that be explained,” Hutton said.

He says a total of $12,000 was spent on healing oils and acupuncture for the year....

read ... Kalihi charter school under investigation for questionable expenses

Charter School Board Members Quit over Lies

SA: A new governing board was appointed during the summer to replace the previous board and to come up with a financial plan for what is left of the current academic year. The commission also required the school to replace its director, Laara Allbrett.

One new board member, however, decided to step down Nov. 17, partly because, he says, the school may not have fully disclosed the extent of the financial plight.

Board member Jeremy Kama Hopkins said in an email to the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser, "During the course of the meeting, as had been the case throughout my term on the board, we found that information about our finances and financial situation may not have been fully disclosed to us. Coupled with some other board dynamic issues, I felt that it was time for me to step down."

Two other members from the new board, Keone Nunes and Andre Perez, also stepped down, Hopkins said....

read ... New Board Members Quit

Students should be UH priority

SA: This time, graduate students and faculty accused Bley-Vroman's administration of saving money by targeting the most vulnerable and least influential interest group at UH — the students themselves.

They argued that despite the administration's claims to the contrary, the austerity measures would inevitably require reducing the number of graduate student teaching assistants, and therefore the number of core/required classes students need to graduate.

To Bley-Vroman's credit, he quickly issued a statement promising that teaching assistant positions, in which low-paid graduate students teach required courses, would not be cut for the spring 2015 semester. Core and required courses would be maintained, at least for now. Furthermore, Bley-Vroman said, UH-Manoa would adopt a new budget allocation model that should provide greater predictability and transparency. That includes a plan to standardize the amount of tuition revenues a school could keep — somewhere between 25 and 40 percent, according to vice chancellor Reed Dasenbrock.

The new model will be introduced for public review next month.

While UH-Manoa has an accumulated carried deficit of $31 million, Dasenbrock said he expects the campus to be fully in the black for the 2015-16 school year.

read ... Students should be UH priority

UH biolab accused of lax security

HNN: Hawaii News Now reported earlier this year that the CDC threatened to suspend the Kakaako lab after finding more than two dozen safety infractions.

We recently obtained a copy of the CDC's inspection report, which said that UH officials did not conduct simple criminal background checks for some lab workers and didn't have a procedure to report suspicious or criminal acts to federal and local law enforcement.

"Scary, people should be very concerned about this," said state Sen. Sam Slom, a member of a special state Senate Committee that investigates UH mismanagement....

after a site inspection by four of its investigators in May, the Atlanta-based CDC cited the UH for 30 safety infractions.

In particular, the CDC noted that the UH did not have intrusion detection system inside the lab and did not have a system to coordinate with emergency responders in case dangerous viruses are released accidentally or by criminal act.

The report also faulted the UH for using defective equipment such as centrifuges with broken seals and for not fixing maintenance problems such cracks near sprinkler heads and unsealed ceiling access panels, which could cause pathogens to leak.

"The CDC has significant concerns whether UH Manoa can possess and use select agents and toxins in a manner which protects public health and safety," the report said.

Hawaii New Now initially requested a copy of the CDC report in May but school officials declined to release it, saying it would jeopardize the lab's security. We later obtained the report from other sources.

read ... UH biolab accused of lax security

Danger in the tunnels? Many freeway tunnel fans not working

KHON: H3 ventilation fan problems were outlined in a document from the department of transportation to the state procurement office. Some of the ventilation fans aren’t working. The 32 fans were installed in 1995 and after 20 years of service only 50 percent remain in working condition.

“Fifty percent of the fans not working is a huge concern, especially since it seems like they weren’t working for sometime,” said Sen. Breene Harimoto, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

According to the document, the DOT did attempt to repair and restore two of the fans in 2011 and 2013, but weren’t able to because of various setbacks. The document also states that some of those setbacks include local vendors not being able to restore the fans because of the “exacting demands and size of the machinery, coupled with it’s electro-mechanical controls.”

This new proposal if approved would fix six of the most critical fans with plans to fix all 32 in the future. While still early an estimated cost for the first six would be $4.2 million....

read ... $700K per Fan?

Builder Loses 86% of Business due to city’s permit application process

KHON: Applications for new building permits can only be submitted electronically through a program called ePlans. The city said the ePlans system was created to simplify and improve the plan review system.

Three months ago, the Department of Planning and Permitting was planning to do a number of things to improve the waits, such as hire more people and continue to train them.

But industry professionals told KHON2 the problem still exists.

“I used to build 25 to 30 homes a year. In the last two years, I’ve built four. It’s really depressing,” said John Meyers, who owns the design build firm Innovative Building Solutions.

New building materials sit unused in Meyers’ warehouse in Kaneohe. He says he has $6 million in projects waiting for building permits.

“I used to take three to five weeks to get a building permit under the old paper system by hand routing. Now they don’t even look at them in the first three to five months,” he said.

read ... Problems

HECO gaining ground on plan to integrate thousands of rooftop solar systems

PBN: ...Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking inverter manufacturers across the state to remotely program their inverters to new, expanded frequency and voltage settings, which would allow the state's largest utility to ultimately integrate more rooftop solar energy into its grids....

The Honolulu-based utility said in a letter to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission this week that these expanded settings, developed through technical analyses and in collaboration with the inverter and photovoltaic industries, will help HECO reduce risks to grid reliability caused by high levels of inverter-based rooftop PV resources.

To that end, the utility is asking inverter manufacturers and the PV industry to help address system-level grid security concerns caused by large and increasing amounts of rooftop PV on its grids.

HECO said it began notifying customers and submitted requests to inverter manufacturers this week about the implementation of this effort.

Phase one is scheduled to start this week and end on Dec. 31 with phase two starting on Jan. 1 and ending on Sept. 30.

PBN: Kauai utility board chair leaves to take job with Syngenta Hawaii

GT: Green Energy Scammers Call HECO 3rd Biggest Turkey of 2014

read ... Inverters

DoH Modifies Cesspool Conversion Proposal

WHT: Responding to public opposition, the state Department of Health dramatically watered down its proposed rules phasing out cesspools, but it’s unknown if Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign the package before he leaves office Monday.

The new rules would apply to just 13 percent of the 49,344 cesspools on Hawaii Island, and 22 percent of the 87,969 cesspools statewide.

Instead of requiring all cesspools be converted to septic systems upon the transfer of property, the new rules would apply only to cesspools within 750 feet of a sensitive water body or near a drinking water well. In addition, the grace period for a cesspool to be converted upon transfer of the property will be extended from six months to one year. And, the rules won’t apply to transfers of property where money doesn’t exchange hands, for example, between family members.

The Health Department also proposes to offer grants or no- or low-interest loans for the conversion process. Lots of 1 acre or more in new subdivisions will be allowed to have individual rather than gang septic systems. Exemptions may be granted for properties that can’t accommodate a septic system and leach field.

read ... Watered Down

Hawaii Home Prices Rising Faster than 48 States

NMP: The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 40 states during the third quarter of 2014. The top five states in annual appreciation: (1) Nevada, (2) Hawaii, (3) California, (4) North Dakota, and (5) Florida.

read ... #2

Organic Elite Turkeys

KE: Perusing the cornucopia that is Whole Foods the other day, I was struck by the variety of turkeys being sold. Some were touted as organic, others as GMO-free. Some were fully free-range, while others merely had “access to outdoors.” Still others were vegetarian-fed, but ostensibly caged, while the premium birds were labeled “humanely-raised on sustainable family farms.” A few even had names: Tom.

Whole Foods is where the rich folk shop, and the per-pound-price — ranging from $2.99 to $4.49 — reflected the buying power of the clientele.

Meanwhile, in the big box stores and supermarket chains where the poorer people shop, turkeys were going for just 49-to-69 cents per pound.

read ... Lord it over the poor

Dopers Want Dope for 'Insomnia, Attention Deficit Disorder'

CB: ...Lawmakers legalized the use of marijuana for several medical diagnoses: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, chronic severe pain, seizures, chronic headaches and migraines, painful neuropathies, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Not included were insomnia, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression....

read ... Dopers Want their Dope

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