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Thursday, October 15, 2015
October 15, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:38 PM :: 4565 Views

How to Tell the DOI 'No' Today

Obama Cabinet Member to Meet with OHA 'Entrepreneurs' at Pelatron

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: The Democrat that Republicans love

Does Subsidized Housing Reduce Homelessness?

Students at 37 Hawaii public high schools earn Advanced Placement Awards

Ethics Commission Obeys Hanabusa, Secretly Dismisses Ethics complaints, Saves Council from Rail Re-votes

HNN: Ethics complaints over free meals and votes on the rail project have been dropped against two current and one former Honolulu City Council members.

Council members Ikaika Anderson and Ann Kobayashi and former member Donavan Dela Cruz were accused of accepting free meals at luxury restaurants from lobbyists supporting the Honolulu rail project. They were also supposed to report the gifts when they voted on the project.

But Honolulu Ethics Commission unanimously voted to drop the complaints after a secret meeting Friday.

Anderson and Kobayashi announced the decision in a news conference Wednesday.  “We are very pleased today to announce that we have been exonerated on all charges by the Honolulu Ethics Commission,” Anderson said.

Their lawyer was former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (current member of HART board), who said Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto inaccurately counted up the meal costs for each member....

What’s still unclear tonight is why the commission would meet secretly, without its chairman or executive director present on such a major issue.

A separate case involving former City Councilman Todd Apo remains active before the commission. (Todd Apo fall guy.  Maybe he will rat out the others on something new, just like DelaCruz did.)

To see the commission's summary judgment on the issue, click here.

read ... Secret Ethics

Star-Adv: Back-room dealing and secrecy on Rail Votes

SA Oct 16, 2015: So many things are off-kilter here — including the the back-room way the decision was made by, of all agencies, the city Ethics Commission — that it’s hard to know where to start....

The commission’s action was taken behind closed doors; two members had recused themselves; the chairwoman, Katy Chen, was traveling on the mainland.

Kobayashi, Anderson and Council Chairman Ernie Martin said that afternoon that the dismissal means the questionable votes on rail can stand.

But that’s not entirely clear, since the lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court by Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa, is still pending....

“The facts are the facts,” Morgan said. “The Ethics Commission’s attempt to sweep this under the rug didn’t change the fact that we have asked the courts to determine the consequences of the Council’s action.”

The commission heard from the three Council members’ attorney, Colleen Hanabusa, before making its decision.

Hanabusa, who also sits on the HART rail board, said her dual roles as legal defense and board member were cleared by city Corporation Counsel Donna Leong. (Yes.  It is ok to laugh now.)

But Leong is hardly a disinterested party, having argued against the need for the Council’s revotes in the first place. A more objective clearance should have been sought there.

The whole sequence of events reeks of back-room dealing and secrecy.

For a project that desperately needs to reinvigorate public trust, this was an abysmal way to proceed, wrong on every level.

read ... Ethics ruling poorly handled

Peter Apo: Federal Recognition Opponents cannot claim to be Hawaiian--But Haoles Can 

CB: I begin by repeating my statement in a previous column that the word “Hawaiian” is not a Hawaiian word. It is an English word. Hawaiian words don’t end in consonants.

The origin of the word Hawaiian was not intended as a reference to ancestry or ethnicity. When Hawaii was a sovereign nation the word Hawaiian referred to anyone, irrespective of ancestry, who was from that place called Hawaii....

It saddens me to have seen so many wayward and misguided Hawaiians by ancestry unabashedly proclaim their Hawaiianess by engaging in disrespectful and egregious behavior as a “shock and awe” political strategy.

We saw some of this last year when the U.S. Department of Interior held statewide hearings on federal recognition for Hawaiians. A few of these individuals were shouting abuse, including racial slurs and acting out all manner of degenerate behavior. This generated embarrassment and a judgment of all Hawaiians by some mainstream media. These people, in my opinion, cannot ever claim to be Hawaiian because — in my judgment — behavior trumps blood quantum as a defining characteristic of one’s Hawaiianess....

Best Comment: "It saddens me, but does not surprise me, that Peter Apo has said the most important element defining who is Hawaiian is political activism."

read ... One way to get enough votes

Ritte Quits Nai Aupuni Election--"Federal Recognition is Predetermined Outcome"

SA: The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, having certified the Kana‘iolowalu roll at the end of July, has now pushed the number of enrollees eligible to vote in the election to 99,217 from 95,690, the commission reported Wednesday.  (Total 3,527.)

Clyde Namuo, the commission’s executive director, said that while today is advertised as the last day to sign up, the official roll isn’t scheduled to be certified until Monday, so more names could be added Friday. (Just making this stuff up as they go along.)

A U.S. District Court hearing on a preliminary injunction seeking to block the “race-based” and “viewpoint-based” election with more than 200 candidates is scheduled for Tuesday.

A lawsuit filed by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and others argues that the election violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act by using race and political qualifications to determine voter eligibility.

Monday’s motion asks the court to put the election on hold until after a decision is reached.

As it stands now, ballots for the election will be sent to certified voters Nov. 1, with voting scheduled to end Nov. 30. The results of the election will be announced Dec. 1....

A group of supporters of Hawaiian independence have been waging a social media and grass-roots campaign to undermine the effort.

They have been circulating a “Protest Na‘i Aupuni” petition and have been urging people to remove their names from the Kana‘iolo- walu roll.

A meeting was held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on Friday to rally people against the Na‘i effort, and another was scheduled Wednesday night at UH-Hilo.

At Friday’s “Halawai Aloha ‘Aina” meeting, attendees were told that the state-initiated self-governance initiative is a flawed and rushed process that failed to win a consensus of the Hawaiian people.

Attendees were told Na‘i Aupuni is not about self-determination for the Hawaiian people. Rather, it is a scam to create a puppet nation to undercut the independence movement and permanently relinquish Hawaiian cultural and political rights to sovereignty and more than 1.8 million acres of national lands in a universal settlement.

The effort, they said, would seal the fate of the Hawaiian people as a landless, powerless nation that will forever be under the thumb of the United States.

During the meeting, attendees brainstormed ways to undermine the effort.

Walter Ritte, the longtime Hawaiian activist from Molokai who qualified as a Na‘i Aupuni candidate, said Wednesday he’s had a change of heart and intends to quit the race. He said he plans to urge like-minded candidates to do so as well.

Ritte said he originally hoped to push for independence within the convention. But now it appears he is wasting his time, he said, because there’s a predetermined outcome for federal recognition.

“The whole process is really bad,” he said. “It’s better not to give credibility to the process by participating.”

Lanakila Mangauil, the Mauna Kea “protector” who surprised many by declaring his candidacy, told his supporters on Facebook that he thinks Na‘i Aupuni is less than “pono” (righteous or correct) and that, if elected, he plans to work to postpone the process.

“This is not something that can be rushed,” he said. “This is something that needs to be clear and (have) understanding.”

read ... Predetermined

Hawaiians divided again over Na‘i Aupuni election

ILind: A public Facebook page is spreading the message, “Protest Na‘i Aupuni,” and urging Hawaiians to remove their names from the roll of eligible voters. Hawaiians are also being urged to sign a petition pushing for disenrollment.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the parties suing to block the election as unconstitutional cite the nationalist opposition’s claims of “state/fed control” of Na‘i Aupuni in their legal arguments in federal court next week.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The election, if it succeeds in drawing substantial participation with hard-line nationalists. And if participation is low, it will leave the effort to create a Hawaiian governing entity under U.S. law, that began with the Akaka bill, dead in the water.

read ... Divided

OHA Lawyer Represents Contractor Accused of Using Political Influence to Rip-off State

SA: Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura ruled Tuesday the state should have filed its complaint against Ciber with the chief procurement officer of the state DOT before pursuing a lawsuit in Circuit Court.

Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Attorney General Douglas Chin, said the decision to dismiss the case was made on “purely procedural grounds.”

“The court’s decision is unrelated to the merits of the state’s claims and does not affect the state’s ability to assert those claims against Ciber,” Wisch said in an emailed statement. “The state will continue to vigorously pursue its claims against Ciber for defrauding the state and engaging in other misconduct, including pulling a ‘bait and switch’ by misrepresenting its capabilities to implement new software.”

(OHA lawyer) Robert Klein, a lawyer representing Ciber, said the state’s lawsuit against Ciber was filed without following the law “just to make a big splash.”....

The state lawsuit also claimed Ciber used lobbyists and “exercised inappropriate political influence” to persuade the state to continue making payments to the company, and to counter pressure from state transportation officials who were trying to enforce the terms of the contract.

Ciber hired two lobbyists from the firm Capitol Consultants of Hawaii LLP to help persuade Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration that the state should continue with its contract, and Abercrombie Chief of Staff Bruce Coppa was given updates about the project from late 2013 to late 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges political appointee Audrey Hidano was then assigned by the governor’s office to oversee the Ciber project, and Hidano repeatedly told transportation staff “that the governor’s office wanted Ciber to remain on the project despite its performance failures,” according to the lawsuit.

Despite the concerns raised by state transportation officials, Ciber continued to receive payments under the contract until August 2014. Coppa joined the Capitol Consultants lobbying firm as a consultant after the Abercrombie administration ended in 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Ciber finally abandoned the project and withdrew its staff without any notice after Abercrombie lost the primary election on Aug. 9, 2014. The company later submitted a claim to the Department of Transportation alleging it had suffered more than $23 million in damages, which was partially offset by money it had already been paid....

The state paid Ciber and other consultants working on the Financial Accounting System Transportation a total of $13.88 million, but the new system never worked....

read ... Political Connections Pay Off

Doomed: Kealoha in Crosshairs of Federal Prosecutor who Brought Down San Diego Mayor

CB: ...Wheat is based at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego. He has worked as a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice for 30 years, and has handled a variety of criminal prosecutions, including cases of alleged prison rape, drug smuggling and human trafficking.

In 2005, Wheat was a lead prosecutor in a public corruption case involving the acting mayor of San Diego and a city councilman who were convicted of performing political favors for a local strip-club owner who was donating to their campaigns....

read ... Chief Doomed

More Than 50% of Kakaako Homeless Have Been Forced into Shelters

HNN: Before the sweeps started Sept. 8, state officials said 293 people were living on the streets in the area. As of Wednesday, 158 of those people have gone into shelters.  (That leaves 135 to round up.)

"As we get reports of these new encampments coming up we are working with outreach providers that we contract with to have them offer that same type of assertive outreach and continue to offer resources in those areas," he said.

For example, Morishige said outreach teams made contact with people in a new encampment in Kalihi Valley on Wednesday morning.

read ... Better Than 50%

Carbone: Diabolical E-Cigs Making Less People Smoke Tobacco, Ruining Cancer Center

SA: When I presented to the UH Board of Regents the plan to build the cancer center, then-Regent Dennis Hirota, asked me, What if people stop smoking cigarettes? How are you going to pay the mortgage and salaries? I got the same question when I presented the proposal to the state Senate.

I answered both times that to have a NCI-designated cancer center, we needed to build a new building and hire new faculty, and that, unfortunately, there was no sign that people would reduce smoking (e-cigarettes had not appeared yet) — but if that were to happen, it would be wonderful news as smoking is the No. 1 cause of cancer. As a cancer researcher, I could only hope that people stop smoking.

And I said, if that happens, the regents and the Legislature will have two choices: 1) Close the cancer center; 2) Increase the cigarette tax to make up for reduced revenue. That was true then, and it’s true now.

As Explained: Age 21 for E-Cigs?  With Tobacco Taxes Declining, Legislators Clamp Down on their Competition

read ... My Ruination

Source: Arnold to Get 'Biggest Settlement Ever' from UH

SA: Former University of Hawaii men’s basketball coach Gib Arnold’s pending settlement will be structured to his tax advantage and he will not be bound by a non-disparagement agreement, people briefed on the deal said.

Arnold is expected to receive the largest settlement ever granted a former UH athletics employee under a high six-figure deal set to be voted on today by the Board of Regents. The board is scheduled to discuss the settlement in executive session behind closed doors before reconvening in public to vote on it.

Terms of the settlement were filed under seal Tuesday in Circuit Court, pending approval by the board, which is holding its monthly meeting at the UH-Maui College campus.

UH and representatives for Arnold have declined to comment while the agreement is pending. Regents policy requires board approval for settlements exceeding $500,000. Arnold has been seeking $1.4 million from UH under a firing “without cause” clause in his 2011 contract.

Attorneys involved in the case say the proposed settlement would be “global” in that it would cover all elements of the dispute and associated court actions.

read ... More details surface on UH's settlement with ex-coach Arnold

Does Mayor or Commission Have Authority to Dismiss Police Chief?--Supreme Court to Decide

KHON: A battle over power on Kauai reached the Supreme Court of Hawaii Wednesday.

In 2012, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. ordered Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry to take a leave of absence.

The Kauai Police Commission took the mayor to court and asked the judge to determine who had the authority.

The court ruled in favor of the mayor, but now the commission is appealing....

Totally Related: Starting with Kealoha, Feds expand inquiry to Department-wide police corruption

read ... Authority?

Supreme Court Orders Anti-GMO Lawyer Suspended from Bar

KE: Back in May, when the Waimea folks won a limited verdict in their dust lawsuit against Pioneer....

I wrote: Could it be they were suckered by the attorneys — Kyle Smith, fresh from Las Vegas, and Gerard Jervis, not so fresh from the Bishop Estate suicide scandal — who were brought in by the anti-GMO groups looking for a way to ding the seed companies?

Well, just this week, the Hawaii Supreme Court suspended Jervis' license to practice law in the Islands for six months. As the Star-Advertiser reported:

According to the order, Jervis violated rules of professional conduct for Hawaii lawyers regarding representing and communicating with clients in one case, and conflicts of interest in another.  Some of the factors the high court said it considered in handing down the suspension were Jervis’ false statements during the disciplinary investigation and his one prior discipline.

Now why is it not surprising to learn an unethical attorney was tapped for that case?

read ... Unethical

Anti-GMO Activists Target DeCoite in HD13

MW: The public meeting at the Haiku Community Center on Tues., Oct 13 hosted by Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D) featured an all star cast of members of the Hawaii State House including all five members of the Maui delegation and five of the top leadership. It drew a good crowd who soon grew restless with the format....

The only applause lines came during the discussion of marijuana as a “cash crop” to replace sugar, where Maui already has a “name brand.”....

“The topics of real interest to the audience specifically GMO moratorium, broad use of restricted use pesticides, cane burning and the Public Trust Doctrine were only briefly touched on in a group that overwhelmingly voted in support of curtailing some of these activities until they are proven safe or at least given a fair review by the DOH.”...

with the majority of the voters concentrated in East Maui from Paia to Hana and DeCoit’s own affiliation being at odds with some she was appointed to represent, many came away from the gathering wondering if she would be able to hold on the seat in the next election.

MN: State legislators come home to talk story

read ... Anti-GMO

SBA Loans up in Hawaii

PBN: Hawaii is beating averages, thanks in part to the state’s relationship with the Department of Defense and Department of Agriculture.

“Our contracting and lending is at record levels,” said Contreras-Sweet, who became the 24th administrator of the U.S. SBA when she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s cabinet in April 2014. “The SBA has never done more in its history in terms of the loan output. We want to continue this momentum.”

SBA Hawaii District Director Jane Sawyer said efforts to streamline processes for borrowers have paid off.

“This year has definitely been a record year for SBA lending,” she said. “We’ve seen several of our lenders exceed their goals — they’ve hit over 100 loans per financial institution, something we very seldom see, and we have gone from 500 to 740 loans this year.”

read ... Hawaii's small business climate improving, U.S. Small Business Administration says

Hawaii Fishery Reopens After Buying Part of Marianas Island Quota

MV: THE $525,000 that the CNMI earns from selling half of its big eye tuna quota will go to marine conservation programs and development of fishery management, Variety learned.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service or NMFS gave the CNMI a 2,000 metric ton catch limit for big eye tuna for the year 2015, and allowed the commonwealth to sell half of it to a group of long-line fishermen in Hawaii.

NMFS allowed the CNMI to allocate a 1,000-metric ton catch limit to Hawaii long-liners in a specified fishing agreement.

SA: Feds allow longliners to resume catching bigeye tuna

read ... Fishing

Liberals: Asians are Failures in America and we're 'Troubled' by any Talk to the Contrary

KHON: For some Asian Americans, it’s a familiar yet troubling story.

Recent articles in The New York Times (“The Asian Advantage“) and The Economist (“The Model Minority is Losing Patience“) have focused on a racial group considered to be one of the most successful in America and the numbers are compelling.

Overall, Asian Americans are more educated: More than half of Asian Americans (51.5%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 30% of the general U.S. population.  And they earn a lot more: $74,105 in median income versus $53,657, according to Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey.

But behind the numbers is another story.

“When you dig a little bit it shows that we are not all doing as well as society, the government and other institutions would lead you to believe,” said Christopher Kang, the national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. “We do have a very diverse population and very diverse needs.”

On Monday, Kang penned a response to the New York Times piece by Nicholas Kristof that addressed the success of Asian Americans.

Asking “Why are Asian-Americans so successful in America” is “uninformed” and “perpetuates stereotypes,” Kang wrote.

read ... Your Failure is Their Success

Russia’s Pacific Paradise

TD: The Hawaiian Schäffer affair remains one of the first territorial flashpoints between Russia and a budding United States, but would soon be overshadowed by higher profile dealings in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. (To say nothing of what would come in time: alliances and enmity, World Wars, revolutions, a Cold War, detente, and now Crimea and Syria.) Nonetheless, while Schäffer remained chagrined by the entire debacle, he found a mote of historical justice. As the surgeon warned, should Russia pass on Hawaii, it would lose its “possessions on the northwest shore of America, and the Americans of the United States would take possession of them in short course.”

read ... Russian

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