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Sunday, December 27, 2015
December 26, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:17 PM :: 3240 Views

Delays Upon Delays at DHHL

5 minutes to stop federal creation of a Hawaiian tribe

KPD implements first body-worn camera program in state

Joint Hearing Set for Marijuana Dispensaries

Big Q: 83% Say Nai Aupuni Must Stop

Telescope project to be stalled 'for years'

SA: The Thirty Meter Telescope project — thwarted by the one-two punch of protesters blocking construction and the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidating its permit — lost more than $1.76 million this year while its grading equipment sat idle atop Mauna Kea.

Now, the developer and eventual operator of the planned $1.4 billion next-generation telescope says it is waiting for the state to outline a new permitting process and projected timetable before it decides what to do next.

“TMT needs to understand the state’s process as soon as possible to keep the project moving forward,” project spokesman Scott Ishikawa said.

Joshua Wisch, special assistant to state Attorney General Doug Chin, said Friday that state officials are waiting for the state’s highest court to issue specific instructions on how to proceed.

Those instructions were not spelled out Dec. 2 when the court ruled that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred in approving the project’s conservation district use permit before holding a contested case hearing.

The court revoked the permit and said it would send it back to the board for a new contested case hearing with a stop first at Circuit Court. But the case has yet to be formally transferred by the court, Wisch said.

For now, it remains unclear whether the University of Hawaii, on behalf of TMT, will have to apply for another permit and produce new and costly environmental studies and associated documents, or simply start again at the contested case hearing, using the same application as before.

Either way, the project likely will be delayed for years….

read … Telescope project stalled as parties await more information

Aiona for Mayor?

SA: …Former Hawaii Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona is raising the most eyebrows after stating last week that he will “neither confirm or deny” interest in the executive suite at Honolulu Hale. But he acknowledged that he has been approached by people to run, and did not hesitate to criticize Caldwell or his handling of the city’s now $6.58 billion rail transit project.

Former Mayor Peter Carlisle, who was ousted after he finished third in the 2012 runoff round to Caldwell and former Gov. Ben Cayetano, said he is weighing whether to wage a campaign to regain the mayor’s seat. He said he is not interested in running for city prosecutor, his other former high-profile job.

And then there’s City Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who has said for a while that he intends to run for mayor at some point in his career. Like Aiona, Martin has openly criticized Caldwell and his handling of rail and his policies on dealing with the homeless.

Not running is Vicky Cayetano, the former governor’s wife. She acknowledged that she has also seriously considered a run after being approached by potential supporters, but said she has chosen not to run, at least not in 2016. Her husband, Ben Cayetano, said he also does not intend to run for mayor in 2016.

Aiona told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last week that he will “neither confirm nor deny” that he is considering a run for mayor. A Republican who would be running in a nonpartisan race, Aiona said people have urged him to run for mayor “and for other races, also.”

In response to questions about Caldwell’s performance, Aiona said, “I think this mayor has not done a good job … I think he’s doing a terrible job in regard to many of the issues confronting the people of this county.”

Aiona said he disputes Caldwell’s claim that he’s done well at fixing potholes, pointing out that his vehicle has been running over the same cracks for seven to eight years.

“I firmly believe he is the consummate politician,” he said. “He will bend whichever way the wind is blowing.”

On the rail project, Aiona reiterated that he has always been opposed philosophically to rail because of its high cost. As a candidate for governor, Aiona said, he told voters he would not oppose rail “because it already had started and because it was a city project.”

Now its rising cost “is a major concern,” he said. City officials “can’t put their hands around it, and there’s always something that’s coming up on it.”

He also suggested that he would have opposed extension of the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge — which Caldwell has lobbied heavily for — that was passed by this year’s Legislature and is currently being debated by the City Council.

Asked if he thinks whoever is mayor would be able to stop the project now, Aiona said he’s not in a position to say since he’s not been privy to the information received by Caldwell and Council members.

“Stopping rail right now and tearing it down is an option,” Aiona said. “Now is that the most economical option out there? Is that the best option for the residents of the county of Oahu? I don’t know.”….

Dec 22: Aiona to Run for Mayor?

read … Mayor? 

HSTA, UH to Claw Back Millions from Ige Budget

SA: Ige’s budget doesn’t fully reflect the realities on the ground, however, so some legislative arm-wrestling is in store. The challenge will be to allow for some accommodations, but not at the expense of effective invest- ments in long-term goals.

For example, the omitted expeditures certain to find their way back onto the spreadsheet include $1.8 million for tenured teachers’ sabbaticals, bonuses and license renewal fees, items that were assured in the teachers union contract.

The governor favors only $9.8 million of the $16.2 million UH sought in budgetary add-ons. He places a premium on appropriations for research and innovation, through the UH Cancer Center and other institutes, rather than on athletics. That’s a defensible posture, but he’d better prepare for a fight on that front.

Shon: Sales Pitch for HSTA GE Tax Hike

read …  Claw back

KPD officers 1st in state to use new body-worn cameras, despite SHOPO disapproval

KGI: By Wednesday, all 90 of KPD’s patrol units were retrained and outfitted with body-worn cameras, and were wearing them while out on patrol in Kauai, Blane said.

The department is the first in the state to implement the body cams for its officers, and it is doing without labor union support.

“This is a program that we’ve tested and vetted for over a year and we’re excited to finally begin implementation,” Perry said in a news release last week. “The Kauai Police Department is committed to creating a more transparent department and being more accountable to the community that we serve. This technology is another step in the right direction toward achieving that goal.”

The policy, which was updated at the end of November, requires that officer turn on the cameras during traffic stops, arrests, criminal investigations and other on-duty assignments.

Blane said the equipment must be charged after each shift, when recordings are uploaded and stored to a secured third-party site.

Officers do not have the ability to edit or modify the footage, she said….

Related: KPD implements first body-worn camera program in state

read … Camera

Ignorance: Anti-Pesticide Superstitions Allow Banana Disease to Wipe out Crops

HTH: Richard Ha, who abandoned a banana farm in Keaau after being hit hard by the disease 12 years ago, said his farm in Pepeekeo is already seeing signs of bunchy top.

“We actually found some on our own farm less than a month ago,” he said.

“The worry, of course, is if they get embedded in the gulches and you can’t get to them, then it’s a real problem. To me, that’s inevitable.”

Richardson said the state needs to be more aggressive in controlling the disease.

He points to Australia, which he says has been able to contain the disease by giving officials authority to destroy infected crops on private property without notice. Property owners in areas with the disease also are only permitted to plant bananas where they can be seen from the street, allowing infected plants to be be easily spotted and removed.

“This is what works,” Richardson said. “In (the state’s) attempt to reinvent the wheel, they failed.”

Ha, who also sits on the state Board of Agriculture, said he would also like to see an approach like that used here.

“I don’t think Hawaii has the stomach to pass a law like that,” he added.

In 1999, the Department of Agriculture introduced a plant quarantine and oversaw the elimination of all banana plants in a 10-square-mile area of Kailua-Kona in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading around the Big Island.

While the signs remain, Kamran Fujimoto, a Department of Agriculture noxious weed specialist in Hilo, said the program has long been disbanded. The disease just kept coming back.

“We left the signs up as a reminder that this was a heavily infected area,” he said.

The state has since switched from an eradication strategy to focusing on management, but such efforts are hindered by staff cuts and inability to force property owners to destroy infected plants without a court order.

Fujimoto said he tries to educate residents about the disease if he sees it at their home, but that’s not always successful.

Some are leery about using Roundup to kill infected plants….

read … Price of Ignorance

Does Pesticide Exposure Cause Anti-GMO Activism?

SA: “Numerous studies indicate children exposed to chlorpyrifos have lower IQs and poorer working memory, which impacts learning, reading comprehension and the ability to pay attention.

Columbia University reported, “Even low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child.”

Urban Dictionary: Hooser

read … Tax Cheat Hooser

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