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Thursday, December 17, 2015
December 17, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:41 PM :: 4133 Views

VIDEO: Hawaii Could Still Get the Fed Wreck

5 minutes to stop federal creation of a Hawaiian tribe

Science--The Life of the Land

Feds: ‘Organic Farms and General Opposition to Chemicals Present Insurmountable Obstacle’ to Dengue Eradication

Lawsuit: Deadly ‘Natural’ Supplement contained “methamphetamine-like chemical”

Desperate: Obamacare Deadline Extended 48 Hours

Honolulu Awarded Sexual Assault Justice Initiative Grant

Honolulu: Average Small Business Invoices $105K per Year

Class Action Suit Filed over Canceled Soccer Game

With TMT project stalled, heavy equipment removed from Mauna Kea

HNN: Two weeks after the state Supreme Court revoked the Thirty Meter Telescope project's permit, all construction equipment and vehicles were removed from Mauna Kea on Wednesday….

Henry Yang, chairman of the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors, released the following statement:  "We respect the Hawaii Supreme Court decision and, as good neighbors and stewards of the mountain, TMT has begun relocating construction vehicles and equipment from Mauna Kea. Some maintenance work was needed before transporting the vehicles down the mountain, given that they have been idle since April. We thank everyone as we assess our next steps forward." …

TMT protesters have been calling for the machines to be removed from Mauna Kea ever since the state Supreme Court ruled the telescope's permits were invalid on December 2.

In response to the demand, the state attorney general's office said the equipment could remain in place because it fell within the terms of the project's sublease with the University of Hawaii.

However, telescope officials decided to pull the machines on their own.

It's unclear whether TMT officials will pursue a new permit for the project.

CN: Telescope Pulled From Mauna Kea, For Now

read … Removed

Ige: Telescope Waiting on State, State Waiting on a District Court Judge

HTH: …“I have expressed my personal support for the project to them, and I have committed that the agencies will be going through that order and deciding what impact it is to the process,” Ige said. “They have asked that we let them know exactly what the next step will be as soon as possible, so we are committed to doing that.”

Ige said state agencies are reviewing the court ruling to determine what part of the state process needs to change. “And then we are waiting for guidance from the Circuit Court because they need to, I guess, interpret what the Supreme Court said, and we will make the changes we need to in the process and move forward,” Ige said….

Ige also said he was struck by the sheer volume of visitors to the summit, which he said is a problem.

“I can tell you when I went up to Mauna Kea, it was clear to me that commercial interest far exceeded cultural or even scientific interests,” Ige said. “There were so many people on the summit at sunset, I could not see it being sustainable.”

Ige cited tour vans and rental cars taking visitors to the summit….

read … Telescope?

Peter Apo Debunks Claims of ‘Sacred’ Mauna Kea

CB: People who call themselves the “protectors” of Mauna Kea frame their objections to the TMT as a violation of a religious-based belief they refer to as Mauna a Wākea. As I understand it, Mauna a Wākea, among other things, lays claim to the entire mountain as being sacred. Even the air column above the mountain is holy.

In the case of the TMT, “sacred” means there can be no real discussion and the protectors have made it clear that compromise is not possible; thou shall not build it.

My interest in the sacred claim of Mauna a Wākea — that it encompasses the entire mountain — has grown out of an awkward silence from a broad sector of Hawaiian scholars and other credentialed cultural leaders who would normally take part in such an intense conflict. As the Mauna Kea controversy went viral, their silence got louder — and my sense of urgency grew.

Amid my puzzlement over the absence of informed voices regarding the Mauna a Wākea claim, I commissioned some research that included interviews with highly credentialed Hawaiian scholars….

I found no documentation indicating that Mauna Kea, as a whole, is sacred.…

In fact, I believe the decision about the TMT’s location was made to ensure that no sacred site was violated, nor access to any sacred site impeded….

There is one mention of Mauna a Wākea found in a birth chant for Kauikeaouli, first published in 1852. Kauikeaouli is better known as Kamehameha III.

If there is any other documentation of a sacred claim of Mauna in the traditional sources of validation, I stand to be corrected….

Hawaiians had — and continue to take part in — an unending, undeterred quest for knowledge, known as ‘imi na‘auao. This includes ancient astronomy on Mauna Kea. According to Hawaiian scholar Rubellite Kawena Johnson, a stone altar temple on the slopes of Mauna Kea called Ahu a Umi Heiau — which was built by Umi, the most celebrated chief of Hawaii Island — appears to be a ritual platform for complicated and sophisticated studies of the heavens.

Another cultural connector between Mauna Kea and the stars is that there are various places on the mountain named after stars.

An even more fundamental relationship between Hawaiians and astronomical science is the Hawaiian quest to search for our ancestors. The value of Hawaiian access to the TMT is also in the fact that we could learn about our ancestral past by looking at the heavens — back toward the beginning of the Kumulipo and the Night of Pō. For Hawaiians, this would be culturally immeasurable….

ILind: Separating cultural fact from fiction

read … Sacredness Debunked

Williamson Chang: Nai Aupuni Convention Contrary to Supreme Court Order

CB: …This double action of Nai Aupuni, I believe, is contrary to the order of the Supreme Court of the United States that 1) the election not take place now (before the issues are fully litigated) and 2) that no one be certified as a delegate. In short, the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not meant to prevent race-based elections but to prevent the logical consequence of such race-based elections — that is, race-based electoral bodies, like a legislature or a water district….

As a candidate, what if I do not register by Dec. 22? Can Nai Aupuni really prevent me from going to its convention in Kailua? Does it have its own police?…

Suppose a Southern state, after the Civil War, held elections allowing only one race to vote for the state legislature. Suppose the Supreme Court applying the 15th Amendment intervened and declared the election unconstitutional. The candidates for the state legislature could not simply skip the election, meet in the state house, as legislators consisting of only one race and start to pass laws as a legislature….

Can “wanna-be” candidate-delegates participate in the convention?

Nai Aupuni’s actions of calling off the election and empowering 196 persons to attend a political convention undermines the premises of the election and convention process. Certain persons such as Brandon Makaawaawa were turned away and not allowed to run because they were “too late.”

Now it appears that nothing is ever too late. Moreover, it is now apparent that those who did not run for fear of not garnering enough votes but thought of running would be allowed to participate. Had those persons known that all candidates would be deemed delegates, they would clearly have put in their applications to be candidates. This raises the question as to whether the convention, or “party,” should be open to anyone who attempted to be a candidate or even swears that they would have run….

ILind: Thoughts on the Native Hawaiian convention

read … Williamson Chang

Kauai Council—$800 per Year GE Tax Hike to pay for Plan to Force you out of your car

KGI: …Councilmember Arryl Kaneshiro attributed the county’s current infrastructure problems to a do-it-later mentality.

“We’re in this situation because we’ve kicked the can down the road,” Kaneshiro said.

In order to address the list of needed transportation remedies, the council is considering enacting a surcharge of one-half percent on the General Excise Tax, which is a 4 percent tax levied on all Hawaii businesses’ gross incomes.

Over the span of 10 years, the increase would generate an estimated $255 million in revenue for the county — and it would be earmarked for transportation and infrastructure improvements.

According to Ken Shimonishi, that would raise the cost of living for the average person living on the island by a little more than $200 a year.  (Family of 4 = $800)

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said the money generated from the General Excise Tax could be used to fund the county’s multimodal plan.  (Translation: Make traffic worse so people will stop driving their cars.)

Yukimura explained two of the plan’s major goals: “to reduce (increase) traffic congestion and to develop and (force people into an) affordable and sustainable land transportation system for the future (ie busses).“ 

The plan presents a mode of transportation shift as a way to fix traffic problems.

“Instead of thinking about how many cars we can pass through a section of the highway, by shifting to some other mode of transportation, we could move more people through any one point on the highways,” Yukimura said.  (Translation: Don’t add any lanes. The increasing jams will force people to stop driving.)

read … Raise GE Tax?

Honolulu Charter Rewrite Just for Kyo Ya Developers

SA: How does the City and County of Honolulu enforce zoning laws?

Simple — ignore, circumvent and, if that doesn’t work, change the law.

And changing the law is what City Managing Director Roy K. Amemiya Jr. is trying to do with his proposed City Charter amendment to Section 6-1517 Zoning Variances.

Amemiya has proposed an amendment to the Zoning Variance Test that will excuse developers from complying with a Land Use Ordinance (LUO) on the grounds of “practical difficulties.”

It’s also an end run around the Sept. 23, 2015, Hawaii Supreme Court ruling against the city Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) director’s variance that granted Kyo-ya Hotels &Resorts the right to build a hotel/condominium that would have encroached 74.3 percent into the required coastal height setback from Waikiki Beach.

read … Land and Power

City Puts 465 Homeless into Homes

KHON: …“We have about on this island about 5,000 homeless individuals of which 2,500 are sheltered every night.”

the city’s Housing First program has put 173 people into homes this year.

“So when folks say hey, the city enforces, but they don’t have the compassion and housing, we have, in fact, had great success,” Caldwell said.

He also outlined his push to get veterans off the streets — a program that has resulted in 275 veterans on Oahu being moved into permanent housing this year.

In all, the city has helped 465 people find housing this year. The mayor says this is great news considering their goal for the year was 400….

Hale Mauliola, the new Sand Island facility, is still close to a month from being finished, but it already has 17 residents.

Institute for Human Services director Connie Mitchell said she’s confident that the housing navigation center will be a success.

“I’m really proud to say that we had our first success today. There’s a couple that’s moving out into housing of their choice and it’s really been only three and a half weeks since they came in,” Mitchell said. “They were one of our first people that came in.”

read … No Longer Homeless

City says number of documented homeless could grow in new year

HNN: Since 2009, the number of documented homeless has risen each year and 2016 could be no different….

Programs like Housing First and the Mayor's Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness have gotten more than 400 people off the streets.

Service providers have also been hard at work. A program started by the state's tourism association in partnership with the Institute for Human Services housed another 384 people in Waikiki alone.

As more homeless connect with housing, Nakata says word is getting out.

"Some of the homeless in their own networks have been talking to each other saying you have to come out and be counted by government because they're actually doing really good things," said Nakata….

Meantime, the city is preparing for next month's homeless count -- and hoping for a clear cut understanding of the new numbers.

"The main thing is we need to ask people, 'Have you been counted before have you not been counted before?' It would be really interesting to find out those that have not been counted before why are you being counted now," said Nakata.

read … Homeless Increase

HPD chief outlines body cam plans, challenges Police Commission Discipline

KHON: “Currently, what we’re doing now is working on our policy and then the second thing is, we haven’t really established a start date when we’re going to roll out the use of the body cameras, but it is going to be sometime next year,” Kealoha said.

Kealoha said the pilot project will begin in the first half of the new year. As for the type of cameras HPD officers will be wearing, “it’s all in the planning, all on the table,” he said. “It can be on the glasses, it can be on the lapel, it can be on the shoulder, so we’re still deciding that.” …

As far as changes in the police commission, Kealoha said it’s not necessary. Last week,Sen. Will Espero told KHON2 he wants to change the law to give the commission final say if an officer should be disciplined.

“What’s the sense of having the police commission recommend discipline if it doesn’t have to be followed through?” KHON2 asked.

“Our objective is to make sure all of the complaints that come in are fully investigated and that we cover all our bases. Sometimes, there’s gaps that need to be filled in,” Kealoha said.

Kealoha adds that it’s rare for the police department to not follow what the commission recommends, and it only happens when there’s new evidence discovered after the commission’s investigation.

read … Body Cams

Kakaako Street ownership dispute clouds rail acquisition

HNN: An ownership dispute of a 10,000-square foot segment of Queen Street in Kakaako is raising concerns over further delays to Honolulu's rail transit project.

Area businesses say the property, which is the size of about two basketball courts, is owned by the city. But a private landowner known as Kakaako Land Co. says it owns the street and is embroiled in a heated legal battle with the businesses…

An attorney for Kakaako Land did not return calls. But in their 2014 lawsuit, the businesses said that an extensive search of Honolulu property records shows that the company's claim for the property is based merely on a quit-claim deed the brothers executed in 1985.

The quit claim deed alleges to transfer ownership of the property to Kakaako Land but critics said that claim is bogus because the Queen Street and other roads in Kakaako had been under the ownership of the state for years.

The suit says that the company has used that claim to ticket and even tow away cars owned by businesses who didn't pay them to park on streets.

"They're a bunch of scammers to me," said Cliff Garcia, owner of Tropical Lamp and Shade Co., one of the companies that sued. "We've been fighting it. I know some businesses have given in and are paying a monthly fee for parking, which is ridiculous to me."

read … Joke Gets Out of Hand

Honolulu, Kahului rank low in airport survey

SA: Honolulu Airport and Kahului Airport rank near the bottom for traveler satisfaction in their respective categories in the J.D. Power 2015 North America Airport Satisfaction Study released Wednesday. Honolulu Airport is 23rd out of 31 airports in the large airport category while Kahului Airport ranks 31st out of 33 airports in the medium airport category….

LINK: JD Power Study

read … Airport Experience

Dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii biggest in 60 years—thanks to anti-pesticide activists

USA Today: Hawaii has been hit by an outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness also known as "breakbone fever" because of the debilitating joint pain it causes.

At least 157 people on the island  — known as the Big Island — have been diagnosed with dengue, which causes fever, a rash, intense headaches, severe muscle aches and serious joint pain, according to the Hawaii state health department.

It's Hawaii's largest outbreak of dengue in 60 years, said physician Harold Margolis, the dengue branch chief for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….

As Explained: Feds: ‘Organic Farms and General Opposition to Chemicals Present Insurmountable Obstacle’ to Dengue Eradication

read … 60 years

How the Fed's rate hike makes Hawaii’s biggest problem even tougher

PBN: Hawaii real estate consultant Ricky Cassida explained the situation in more candid terms: “It sucks because it’s going to make affordable housing even more difficult than it already is … public agencies responsible for developing affordable housing [should have] done more during the last three or four years.”

If Wall Street banks are any indication, loan rates will rise swiftly. JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have already announced plans to increase important loan rates.

However, Fuleky told PBN the price of a mortgage in Hawaii should be taken in context.

“Honolulu home prices have not yet reached their pre-recession peak when adjusted for inflation,” he said. “So, while I agree with the premise of your question that Honolulu home prices are high, [but] in real terms they are lower than 10 years ago.”….

read … How the Fed's rate hike makes Hawaii’s biggest problem even tougher

Amicable Divorce?  Hawaii Ranks #11

MT: …Analysis by online divorce form preparation service CompleteCase.com (who provide complete divorce documents) found which states have divorcing couples who are either more amicable, cordial, or, alas, downright disagreeable than each other. This was calculated by comparing couples in each state who declared online that they were in agreement with each other, against those who were not. So which states have the most amicable couples when it comes to parting ways and dividing up their assets?

The top of the list when it comes to an easy, amicable divorce is the beautiful state of Vermont, the research found. Completing divorce papers in the Green Mountain State, as well as other states from Oregon to Rhode Island (shown in green) can be a pretty painless process as couples are more likely to have an uncontested divorce. Couples in these states might even remain friends afterwards. The top five states for amicable divorces were: Vermont, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Kansas.

Things are likely to be pleasantly cordial in the mid-level states (shown in yellow); there might be a few conversations through gritted teeth, or a little bit of sniping back and forth, but generally divorcing couples in these states can politely get through it all without too many recriminations. Hawaii starts this list off at no. 11.

read … Amicable?

Poll: Hawaii 3rd Most Desired State

HP: For the first time since 2001, Florida, our nation’s 27th state, is back on top as Americans’ most desired habitation destination. When asked where – excluding their current state – they would most like to live, The Sunshine State is at the top of the list. Sunshine and waterfront acreage are consistent themes at the top of this list, with California (2) and Hawaii (3) rounding out the top three. Turning away from beachfront territories, Colorado (4) and New York (5) close out the top five states Americans would like to live in.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,232 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 11 and 16, 2015.

read … Everybody’s Coming

Hawaii: 2nd Fewest Gun Dealers Per Capita

CB: The United States has more than 68,000 licensed gun dealers, but only about 140 are in Hawaii….

Wyoming had the most, with 153 gun dealers per 100,000 residents. Next were Montana and Alaska, with 151 and 132 per 100,000 residents, respectively.

New Jersey had the fewest, with six dealers per 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Hawaii had 21 firearms dealers per 100,000 – the second fewest gun dealers per capita in the country.

Here’s a map of all licensed gun dealers in Hawaii in 2015….

SA: Obama mischaracterized ‘assault weapons’—but we agree with him anyway

read … Gun Dealers

Eco-Shysters Study Fisheries Agreements for Path to Total Shutdown

CB: Fishermen were allowed to resume fishing in October under an agreement that they made with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The deal between Quota Management Inc. President Khang Dang and CNMI Gov. Eloy Inos involved paying the territory $200,000 for 1,000 tons of its 2,000-ton limit.

QMI can assign its rights and obligations to the Hawaii Longline Association, a wholly owned subsidiary of QMI. HLA is a nonprofit trade association formed to advance and benefit the Hawaii-based commercial longline fisheries industry.

It’s the third year that QMI has paid CNMI for its unused quota. In 2014, the agreement called for a $175,000 payment, up from $150,000 in 2013. Civil Beat obtained a copy of the agreement through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The fishermen used up their additional allotment by Nov. 30, but were able to strike a similar agreement with Guam — $200,000 for another 1,000 tons. The fleet had caught an estimated 326 tons of that quota within several days.

A deal along the same lines was reached last week with American Samoa in case the fishermen use up their extra limit from Guam before the year ends and the quota resets.

The money is deposited into the Western Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Fund, which the territories use for fishery development projects approved by their respective governors

read … Research Paper

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