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Tuesday, December 22, 2015
December 22, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:48 PM :: 4167 Views

What Is The Office Of Hawaiian Affairs?

Akina, Chang, Lilly: Is Nai Aupuni State-Sponsored?

Ige Presents Supplemental Budget--$31B in New Spending

OHA Publishes 2015 Annual Report

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 21, 2015

GAO: Freeze Funding for Littoral Combat Ship Building

NCAA: Arnold violated NCAA ethical conduct rules, UH Program Banned

Ige Budget Coverage

Will Duke Aiona Run For Mayor Of Honolulu?

CB: There’s speculation that Duke Aiona will run for mayor of Honolulu next year, and the Republican candidate for governor in the last two elections said Monday he would neither “confirm nor deny” the possibility. 

But that didn’t stop Aiona, a former judge who served as Hawaii lieutenant governor from 2002 to 2010, from saying incumbent Kirk Caldwell has been a “terrible” mayor.

“He really is the consummate politician, and I mean that with all sincerity,” Aiona said of Caldwell. “He is basically like the direction of the wind — that’s where Kirk’s going to be. This homelessness issue has really unveiled that, really shown how he is as a public servant.”

Aiona did not elaborate, but addressing homelessness was a major part of his 2014 gubernatorial campaign platform and a focus of the administration of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, under whom he served.

Aiona also took issue with how the mayor is doing regarding the Honolulu rail project. Ainoa does not support rail — “I feel the project is just too expensive,” he said — but he has said that if had been elected governor he would not have stood in the way of a city project.

“But as a mayor of the city and county, it’s a little different story,” he said….

SA Dec 27: Aiona for Mayor? 

CB Dec 24: Aiona Vs. Caldwell Could Make For Interesting 2016 

Dec 10 CB:  Bobby Bunda Raising Money to Succeed Ernie Martin—in 2016?

PDF: Fascinating Campaign Committee in Council Dist #2

read … For Mayor?

Half of Nai Aupuni Candidates Fail to Register for Oprah Aha

SA: Nearly 100 delegates have committed to attending the Native Hawaiian self-determination convention planned for February, the nonprofit sponsoring the event said Monday.

The deadline for any other candidates who intend to become convention delegates is tonight at 11:59, according to Na‘i Aupuni….

Initially, 196 Native Hawaiians from Oahu, neighbor islands and the mainland signed up to run….

Walter Ritte, a Molokai activist who ran as a delegate and later renounced the election, was nevertheless invited to serve as a convention delegate, Na‘i Aupuni officials said.

But Ritte said he still wouldn’t participate because he contends the outcome is rigged in favor of a campaign to push federal recognition and essentially turn Hawaiians into an Indian tribe….

Na‘i Aupuni will announce the names of the delegates Wednesday.

HNN: Nearly 100 accept Native Hawaiian delegate positions

read … Half of Candidates Don’t Want Nai Aupuni

‘We got crushed’: NCAA hands down sanctions against UH

SA: The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team is banned from post-season play for the 2016-‘17 season and is subject to further scholarship reductions for two years, the NCAA announced today.

The sanctions, which the Rainbow Warriors thought they had avoided with self-imposed measures earlier this year, were among those handed down by the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions in the 26-month case.

Meanwhile, Gib Arnold, who UH fired as its head coach Oct. 28, 2014 in the wake of the NCAA investigation, received the equivalent of a 10-game ban with a 30 percent suspension if he seeks to coach at an NCAA-member institution between Dec. 22, 2015 and Dec. 21, 2018. The NCAA report did not name Arnold but he was referred to as “a former UH-Manoa men’s basketball coach.”

However, the penalty is likely moot since he is working in the NBA as a scout for the Boston Celtics.

read … Crushed

Gov. Ige puts lump of coal in UH’s coffers

SA: There will be nothing extra in the University of Hawaii athletic department’s Christmas stocking from Gov. David Ige this year.

None of the requested $3 million for athletics made it into the fiscal year 2017 executive supplemental budget announced Monday.

UH requested the funds to help underwrite stipends for athletes, travel expenses and rising operational costs for its 21-team program. UH-Hilo also was turned down in its bid for $560,000 for “student-athlete success and travel costs.”

Ige’s budget listed $10 million for Aloha Stadium “to meet code, safety or operational requirements” but the governor renewed his unwillingness to fund rebuilding the 41-year-old facility.

In its request, UH said, “Collegiate athletics at (its campuses) has a significant value and benefit beyond the university itself,” citing community pride and a significant boost to the state’s economy.

Overall, the UH System had sought $16.2 million for a variety of operations and got backing for $9.8 million, including $4 million of the $5 million requested for the Cancer Center.

“I believe that the university needs to take responsibility in terms of autonomy seriously and make (substantive) decisions about how best to provide for the Manoa campus,” Ige said at a State Capitol press conference.

Ige said the general fund appropriation for UH system is just under $500 million “and clearly the university does have the authority and the autonomy to allocate those funds in any way that they choose.”

SA: Schools and UH get extra $250 million

read … Ferds Words

$250 million for Rail part of a year-end Congressional spending bill

PBN: The federal government confirmed it will give $250 million to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation as part of a year-end spending bill, which passed through congress on December 17. Meanwhile, the HART board discussed at the length whether to approve another $12 million for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Last week the year-end spending bill passed through both the house and the senate in mid-December. The bill includes funding for HART, which will receive $250 million….

read … Wasted Money

Airports Division 3 years Behind on $2.7B Modernization Program

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

For a state that is forecast to welcome more than 8 million visitors in 2016, the low ranking is appalling and should serve as a wake-up call for airport officials who tout their impressive plans to upgrade facilities, but have been slow to implement them.

The state’s airports are slated to be renovated under a $2.7 billion Modernization Program, which has been moseying along and is already three years behind schedule. Plans call for $1.5 billion in renovations at Honolulu Airport while $425 million will be spent to upgrade Kahului’s airport. Under the project, travelers could expect to see new terminals, upscale retail and dining areas, and efficient car rental facilities. The state expects to finish the project in 2020.

The work so far has come in fits and starts, in part due to changing administrations as well as changing needs. Earlier this month, the state scrapped plans for a 35,000-square-foot commuter terminal…

Keeping the projects on schedule has been a challenge even though federal funding is readily available. At last check, the state had $66.9 million in unexpended federal airport improvement funds….

HNN: Jury finds Hawaii Airports Div subjected employee to sexual harassment

read … Airports Division

NextEra Testimony: How Lawyer Planted ‘HECO as a Snack’ Remark in Media

IM: Lawyer Terry Revere: “You’re aware that you gave the impression to Mrs. Lau that HEI would be a snack on the way to bigger acquisitions, correct?”

NextEra CFO Moray Dewhurst: “No. I’m aware that Mrs. Lau authored an email that said, that implied, that was her impression. I have no reason to believe that I gave that impression.”

SA Dec 17: NextEra CFO denies ‘snack’ remark

read … Moray Dewhurst on HECO as a Snack

NextEra-HECO to put almost all intervenors on the stand

PBN: On Monday, Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy said in regulatory filings that they plan to cross-examine all of the witnesses for the intervenors, except for AES Hawaii’s William Monson, Department of Defense’s Ralph Smith and Friends of Lanai’s Robin and Sally Kaye.….

read … Tables Turned

Federal Budget: Corporate Welfare Continues to Flow to Wind Farms, Solar Contactors

SA: After suffering a loss with state regulators dialing back on solar incentive programs, Hawaii’s solar industry caught a break as Congress approved extending a tax credit for renewable-energy projects.

On Friday, Congress approved a five-year extension to a 30 percent federal tax credit for utility-scale wind projects, utility solar projects and residential solar systems. The wind tax credit was set to expire at the end of this year. The solar tax credit was to sunset at the end of December 2016….

Hawaii does still offer a 35 percent state tax credit for solar projects.

The federal credit will remain 30 percent through 2019, then will drop to 26 percent in 2020, then fall to 22 percent in 2021.

read … Extended tax break a relief for isle solar

Why is island hopping so expensive?

MN: Have you ever wondered why island hopping is so expensive? About $15.28 of every airline ticket goes to taxes and fees for security and administration, and this can add up for island residents who travel often to visit family. But part of the cost of every ticket goes to the monopoly pricing we pay for the lack of competition in our interisland airline market.

This lack of competition could partly stem from certain restrictions set on airline companies. A federal aviation law restricts international airlines from flying between airports within the United States. The law, known as aviation cabotage, prevents aircraft registered outside of the U.S. from carrying cargo or passengers between U.S. airports.

read … So Expensive

State has yet to lend out one penny of $150M in solar loan funds

HNN: A new state program borrowed $150 million last year to loan to low-income people and organizations for solar power upgrades, but has yet to loan any of that money out, nearly three years after state lawmakers approved the program….

You've probably never heard of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority. But if you pay an electric bill in this state, you're paying for this authority with a fee of $1.42 every month….

The state borrowed $150 million last year to start loaning to solar customers, issuing a June 2014 news release that said the first loans would go out by November of 2014. Now it's nearly the end of 2015 and while the program has not loaned any money out yet, it has spent more than $762,148 in administrative expenses.

"The program hasn't gotten up to speed, in part because of an administration change and in part because of bureaucratic differences. I think they've tried to make the program more complicated than it needs to be," Harris said….

"I think that the former governor wanted to race through on some big projects without thinking them through," Curtis said. "The state is opening its own bank and hasn't figured out how to do it yet."

"I think it was a badly thought-out program to begin with," Curtis added.

The state said it expects to close its first solar loans in the coming weeks….

In a report to the governor and state Legislature this month, the state business department said “significant risks” remain which could affect the timing and magnitude of the program, including interconnection, changes in energy storage technology and changes in the availability and cost of private-sector financing for energy storage projects.

read … No Loans

Investors’ claim triggered Hoana Medical bankruptcy  (Latest Act 221 Debacle)

ILind: A Star-Advertiser story this past week reported the bankruptcy filing by Hoana Medical, Inc. (“Hoana Medical looks to future even as it files for bankruptcy“).

It caught my eye because Hoana Medical has been one of the stars of Hawaii’s tech start-up world. The company was spun off from Oceanit, one of Hawaii’s largest engineering and technology firms, in 2002. It has been marketing its LifeBed™ system, a hospital bed filled with sensors to read vital signs, since 2006. According to Oceanit’s website, Hoana “has raised approximately $45 million in private equity from U.S. and Asian venture firms in four rounds of venture financing.”

Hoana has also been one of the companies that have taken advantage of Hawaii’s high tech investment tax credits, according to published reports.

The Star-Advertiser article was light on details of the bankruptcy, citing “financial setbacks stemming from the market crash of 2008” and specifically mentioning $30 million in financing that reportedly failed to materialize. The article mainly reported the comments by the company’s president and CEO about the bankruptcy.

So I decided to check the bankruptcy filing itself which, as it often turns out, tells much more of the story than was reported by the Star-Advertiser.

The bankruptcy filing was done in order to block two investors from collecting an arbitration award, according to court records. Attorneys representing the investors were due in state court to confirm the arbitration award on December 9. Hoana filed for bankruptcy on December 8….

DN: We could use some quality reporting in our daily newspaper

read … Bankrupt

Hawaii’s flawed ‘concealed carry’ law makes us easy victims

SA: France and California, like the state of Hawaii, have effectively disarmed their citizens and rendered them defenseless in the misguided notion that doing so enhances their safety.

Well, we all saw how that turned out in Paris and most recently, in San Bernadino: No one in those attacks was armed except the terrorists, no one was able to return fire, and as a direct consequence of both France’s and California’s stringent gun controls, dozens of individuals are dead who might otherwise still be alive had one or more of the victims been armed.

This will happen again on U.S. soil. And when it does, you can bet the attackers will have carefully researched the gun laws governing the intended attack site, calculated their chances of resistance by armed citizens, identified “gun-free” zones, and made their selection based on those sites where resistance is least likely to be encountered.

Hawaii’s onerous and legally invalidated gun laws identify it as an ideal candidate for such an attack….

read … Concealed Carry

Dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii has global impact

TG: …we should be prepared for more dengue in the US and around the world. “Hawaii is a piece of a much bigger phenomenon that’s happening globally,” says Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Before 1970, (DDT Banned 1972, hint, hint) severe dengue epidemics only happened in nine countries. Today, dengue is endemic in at least 125 tropical and subtropical nations in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean. Local transmission is starting to happen for the first time in Croatia, France and the Madeira Islands of Portugal. While it was once believed that dengue infected 100 million people annually, the most recent analysis suggests it’s more like 390 million. India, with as many as 33m new infections every year, bears the biggest global burden….

If you do sick, it will feel a lot like the flu. Once known as “break bone fever”, dengue causes a high temperature, along with at least one of the following: muscle, joint or bone pain; rash; headaches; eye pain; nausea and vomiting; unusual bleeding, like nose bleeds; or bruising.

In some cases, dengue fever progresses into severe dengue, called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF kills more than 20,000 people every year. Recent research suggests that dengue is much more likely to kill you if you have an underlying health condition, like diabetes. “What we’re seeing now is a confluence of the tropical diseases with noncommunicable diseases,” Hotez says.

The current dengue outbreak on the Big Island is the third to strike Hawaii since 2001. But Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Samoa and Guam all have regular dengue outbreaks. In recent years, dengue has also made landfall on the mainland, in south Texas and south Florida.

Hotez predicts that the Gulf Coast will be one of the next big global hot spots for dengue. Two mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, transmit dengue. Hawaii only has Aedes albopictus, while parts of the Gulf Coast have both. Southern California also has both species, although dengue hasn’t arrived there yet, Wesson says.

It’s not just dengue that we need to plan for. “We’ve seen a global explosion of viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes … called arboviruses,” Hotez says. Experts predict that two other arboviruses – chikungunya and zika – will soon start popping up in same regions where we’re seeing dengue. In 2014, Florida saw the first local transmission of chikungunya.….

read … The Guardian

GMO Primary: Ilagan vs Idiot Ruderman in Puna

HTH: Ruderman, an Anti-GMO moron motivated by his profit margins as owner of Island Naturals food stores, was first elected to the district covering Puna and parts of Ka‘u in 2012.

With a baby on the way, he said earlier this year he was considering running for either Hawaii County mayor or County Council to spend more time on island.  (But nobody wants him there, either.)

“I prefer being here than being in Honolulu,” he said Monday….

(Pro GMO) Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan announced in August that he would be running for the Senate seat.

Ilagan, a two-term councilman, also won his first post in 2012. He said he welcomed Ruderman into the contest.

“I’m glad that Ruderman has decided to run for Senate….” said Ilagan, 29….

Both will run as Democrats. The primary is Aug. 13.

Ruderman lost his chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee (because of his anti-GMO stupidity) last session during a leadership shuffle at the Legislature. He said doesn’t see that as significant….

Daryl Smith, the Republican candidate who lost to Ruderman in the 2012 election, said he is not running for elected office this year.

Ilagan in NYT, 2014: A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

read … Another Anti-GMO Moron Headed for Oblivion

City Crew To Sweep Kakaako — Again

CB: …In recent days, dozens of homeless people have returned to the sidewalks on Ohe and Olomehani streets — the epicenter of what had been Honolulu’s biggest homeless community near the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.

Until last week, most of them were staying at two nearby parks — Kewalo Basin Park and Kakaako Waterfront Park — following the city’s month-long cleanup effort at the encampment.

But state officials began enforcing the nighttime closure rules at the parks on Tuesday, displacing a population estimated to be about 180….

read … Force Them to Accept Shelter

How City Charter will Provide Kyo Ya End Run

SA: The city Department of Planning and Permitting proposed an amendment to the City Charter to allow “dimensional variances” for owners who encounter “practical difficulties” in making improvements to their property.

This would allow property owners to vary certain standards in the city’s zoning code, such as setback and height limits.

Currently, the Charter criteria for “use” variances require strict adherence to the “unnecessary hardship and denial of the reasonable use of the property” provision.

read … George Atta

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