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Monday, December 14, 2015
December 14, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:38 PM :: 3267 Views

Audit: H-Power Contracts Designed to Hide Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Court Of Appeals: Pig Hunting is a Traditional Hawaiian Practice (In This Case)

Nai Aupuni, Telescope: If not this, then that.  So settle.

CB: The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the election of delegates for a convention that would focus on Native Hawaiian governance, until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on a challenge to the constitutionality of that election. The injunction cast doubt on the ultimate viability of that election, should the matter eventually be heard by the high court. By his earlier stay in the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy signaled that he feels a challenge to the election could win on appeal.

Back in Honolulu, Hawaii Supreme Court justices ruled the same day that state officials violated due process when they granted a construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope project. To move forward on that project, which is loudly opposed by a significant portion of the Native Hawaiian community, justices said TMT leaders will have to seek re-approval for the permit, a process that could take a year, maybe longer….

(Message: If not this, then that.  So settle.)

read … Same Day

Nai Aupuni Undermines its own Legitimacy

SA: …Na‘i Aupuni itself caused harm to the aha’s integrity when it unilaterally extended the deadline to vote for delegates past the Nov. 30 deadline, until Dec. 21.

Disturbingly, any change to the ground rules of any legitimate election only undermines credibility and raises suspicions. This was no exception, fueling skepticism among many Native Hawaiians that Na‘i Aupuni, far from the neutral entity it claims to be, favors the nation-to-nation model proffered by the federal government.

Compared with the drama around Na‘i Aupuni and the aha, the federal rule-making process toward a nation-to-nation relationship has gotten little attention — unfortunate, given the momentous door it would open for Native Hawaiians’ self-determination. Bundled in this process are long- sought goals of the erstwhile “Akaka Bill” — generally speaking, official recognition of a special political and trust relationship between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians, if they can form a unified government.

The federal government’s proposed rules resulted from more than 5,000 comments received in 2014, when the Department of the Interior held a series of contentious hearings in Hawaii….

Here’s How: Why you should oppose the DOI Proposed Rule—And How

read … Participate today to shape future of sovereignty

Has the ACLU Tied Homeless Sweeps up in Red Tape?

CB: In late October, Gov. David Ige announced that the state would start enforcing nighttime closure rules at two Kakaako parks, a move aimed at clearing out the fast-growing homeless encampments there.

As early as Nov. 12, Ige said, the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees the two parks, would begin its enforcement actions.

But the sweeps have not been forthcoming — for seven weeks.

That’s because, behind the scenes, state officials were busy crafting the language of what they call “abandoned property protocol,” a set of rules guiding how HCDA will enforce nighttime closure rules at Kewalo Basin Park and Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Last week, the HCDA board finally signed off on the protocol’s language, satisfied that it will protect the “health and safety” of the public, as well as the rights of people whose belongings could be confiscated.

The move paves the way for enforcement actions as early as this week.

But critics say they aren’t convinced that the protocol will safeguard the rights of homeless (people to keep the property they stole from others) ….

HCDA can sidestep the storage requirement and immediately dispose of an item under certain conditions — if it’s perishable, threatens “the health, safety or welfare of the public,” or is considered “inappropriate” for storage due to being “wet, soiled, dirty, sharp, odorous, contaminated by mold or infested with insects, roaches or bed bugs.”

Nickolas Kacprowski, an attorney at Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing, finds this provision troubling, saying that too many things can fall into the category….

Kacprowski’s law firm is partnering with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii to work on an ongoing federal class-action lawsuit brought by 15 homeless or formerly homeless plaintiffs to challenge how Honolulu enforces its stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances….

SA: How to Get a Mentally Ill Person off the Street, into Housing

read … Keep the Homeless on the Streets and out of Housing

Hawaii County Police body cameras still in the works

HTH: As officer-involved shootings make headlines nationwide, the Hawaii Police Department said it’s continuing plans to issue body cameras to officers.

It has completed a pilot program and is now researching its best option.

The move would bring them into alignment with a rising number of police departments and President Barack Obama, who called for $75 million to be spent on cameras for officers across the nation.

Recent surveys by police organizations show that about 25 percent of all departments are using cameras, with 80 percent evaluating their use.

The cameras are already being sporadically used in Hawaii.

Some Honolulu Police officers have purchased private models in an attempt to protect themselves, the Associated Press reported.

“The current lack of uniform guidance for body cameras on both a local and state level leaves the use of cameras and retention of footage to the discretion of individual officers; it also raises questions as to whether these videos are ‘government records’ under Hawaii’s open records law,” Mandy Findlay, advocacy coordinator of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, wrote in an email.

“Hawaii should have a statewide policy that protects privacy interests while also helping to capture evidence of misconduct, deter bad behavior, and spur police practice and criminal justice reforms,” she wrote….

read … Body Cams

State Energy Bank costs money but has no loan portfolio

IM:  SB 1087 became Act 211. DBEDT turned to and relied upon Goldman Sachs to help develop the plan.

In June 2014 DBEDT submitted an application to the PUC. Parties in the PUC regulatory proceeding varied in terms of enthusiasm for the program.

Blue Planet and the Hawaii Solar Energy Association strongly supported the program.

The HECO Companies stated that the program was just, reasonable, and consistent with the public interest. The Consumer Advocate conditionally supported the program.

Opposing the program was Life of the Land, Friends of Lana`i and the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance.

Life of the Land felt the program should only be used for economically challenged residential customers for the customer side of the meter and deployed only after energy efficiency devices were installed.

In September 2014 the PUC approved the project.

read … State Energy Bank costs money but has no loan portfolio

Dopers to Run up Multi-Million Dollar Electric Bills

CB: As the Hawaii Department of Health finalizes interim rules for the state’s new medical marijuana dispensary program, one definition could mean the difference of millions of dollars for entrepreneurs hoping to get into the business.

The law creating the dispensary program says that medical cannabis must be grown in “enclosed indoor facilities,” a requirement Sen. Will Espero explained was added in order to appease security concerns.

The department is scheduled to publish draft rules Jan. 4 that prospective dispensary owners hope will clarify what the state is looking for when it awards eight licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis statewide.

But if the department defines “enclosed indoor facilities” in a way that forces business owners to grow marijuana in warehouses rather than greenhouses, electric bills could run as high as $140,000 per month per site, according to one businessman’s estimate.

That would be up to $3.36 million over the course of one year to power two indoor grow facilities….

read …  Electric Bills

NINBYs, ENVIROs Sue to Block Affordable Housing

MN: The Ma'alaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow Foundation are suing Maui County and the developers of the proposed fast-tracked Ma'alaea Plantation subdivision over the environmental assessment for the development.   (Wash, rinse, repeat)

Plans for the project on 257 acres tucked between the West Maui Mountains and Honoapiilani Highway call for 58 affordable and 55 market-priced rural lots of at least 1 acre each. The property commands a sweeping view of the central valley and the South Maui coastline.

On Oct. 26, the county Department of Housing and Human Concerns issued a finding of no significant environmental impact for the project and sent its final environmental assessment to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control for publication and a 30-day comment period.

The community association and Maui Tomorrow filed a lawsuit in 2nd Circuit Court challenging the environmental assessment, saying it contains erroneous statements and lacks legally required information. The groups ask a judge to find that the county and developer, MVI LLC, are in violation of state law for failing to complete an environmental impact statement, and they want the judge to order preparation of the environmental study for the development….

Doomed: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Blocked and Dead

Hawaii Republicans Majority-Minority, 50% Female

NCSL: …There are slightly more women in house chambers (25 percent) than in senates (22 percent), but the difference is not statistically significant. Between political parties, however, the difference is larger. Women comprise 34 percent of the Democratic lawmakers and 17 percent of the Republicans. In Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah, women make up the majority of the Democratic legislators. In Hawaii, women hold half the eight Republican seats in the Hawaii Legislature.

Minorities also are better represented among Democrats (33 percent) than Republicans (5 percent). Minorities (combined) now fill the majority of Democratic seats in the Arizona, California and Nevada legislatures. In nine Southern states, a majority of Democrats are black, while in New Mexico, the majority are Hispanic. In Hawaii, minority lawmakers (mostly of Asian and Pacific Islander descent) constitute majorities among the Democrats and Republicans alike. In all of these states, except California, Hawaii and New Mexico, Republicans are in the majority….

CB: How Diverse Is Hawaii’s Legislature?

read … NCSL

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