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Tuesday, February 9, 2016
February 9, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 4528 Views

HB868 Gut n Replace: DoE Sneak Attack on Special Ed Students

Fee Simple Conversion Bills Killed after KSBE Protests

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted March 8, 2016

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2016

HB1675: Gay Control of Religion

State Looking For A TMT Hearing Officer–Deadline 430pm Today

Bridge Aina Lea: Hawaii ‘Takings’ Case in Federal Court

HB1886: Oshiro v Friedrichs to Save HGEA from Open Shop?

Poll: Ige Even Less Popular than Caldwell

CB: Fifty-seven percent of voters have a positive impression of Hawaii’s only native son to serve in the White House.

Only 33 percent have a negative view of President Barack Obama, says a new Civil Beat Poll.

Gov. David Ige’s marks are nowhere near as high as the president’s…

Ige: 36% positive –33% Negative—32% Unsure

And Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell scores about the same as Ige, with 40 percent of Oahu voters having a favorable opinion, 38 having a negative opinion, and 22 percent unsure.

“It’s interesting, because Obama always has been very consistent in our polls — around 60 or 62 percent,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted the poll. “He is now at 57 percent, which is a little lower but not dramatic….”

CB: Transparency, Accountability: What Hawaii Voters Want

PDF: Civil Beat January 2016 Ige vs Caldwell Poll

read … Poll

HB1913: Small businesses in Hawaii could be exempt from G.E.T.

PBN: To help entice entrepreneurs to Hawaii, legislatures are proposing to make small business companies exempt from the general excise tax. However, the department of taxation predicts this could cost the state $60 million in tax revenues.

The bill, HB 1913, proposes businesses under $50,000 be exempt from the tax….

read … HB1913

State pension could face ‘volatile’ future

SA: Hawaii’s largest public pension fund is facing an uphill battle amid continuing losses in the U.S. and international stock markets.

The state Employees’ Retirement System fund rose 3.2 percent during the final three months of 2015, but that still left the portfolio down 3.1 percent halfway through the fiscal year that ends June 30, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Monday by Portland, Ore.-based Pension Consulting Alliance Inc. The fiscal year had gotten off to a poor start with a 6 percent loss in the July-September period. For the 2015 calendar year, the ERS fund rose just 0.5 percent.

“It’s very likely that the next couple of quarters are going to be volatile and uncertain, and particularly if you look at January, we went down further,” ERS Chief Investment Officer Vijoy “Paul” Chattergy said. “I’m very concerned we could end up with a negative year….”

read … Volatile

Hawaii is a Sinking Ship

Borreca: Climbing out on a metaphorical limb, Paul Brewbaker, one of Hawaii’s most respected economists, says when he looks at Hawaii, he sees “an old steamship that hasn’t had its barnacles scraped off the hull in 30 years, needs a paint job, with lifeboats of now-dubious integrity for lack of having had emergency drills, with an engine that makes noises the crew can’t quite identify.”

The clunking economy Brewbaker views is failing because it cannot provide the roads, sewers, airports and schools needed to succeed in the 21st century….

read … Sinking

Telescope: Will Investors Give Up?

HNN: …The governor says he wants the telescope built. But doesn't seem to have any plan – other than to send it back to the same agency that messed it up in the first place – the board of land and natural resources.

If the legal and regulatory process works as usual…it will give opponents multiple opportunities to drag it back into court. Construction could be delayed for years.

If TMT's investors give up, you can bet that no one will ever again risk trying to put a new installation on either Maunakea or Haleakala.  Without the opportunity to improve the technology on the mountain we could lose the entire astronomy industry in Hawaii….

read … Local Connection: TMT

House Chairman Blocks Speaker’s Lease Conversion Bills on Orders from KSBE

CB: Hawaii House Water and Land Committee Chairman Rep. Ryan Yamane cancelled an upcoming hearing on two bills that would have given long-term lease holders of nonresidential property the right to purchase the land that they’re renting.

Yamane’s decision effectively kills both proposals, House Bill 1635 and House Bill 2173, which were sponsored by House Speaker Joseph Souki. The lawmaker from Maui singled out the issue out as a priority in his opening day remarks. The proposals would have applied to new commercial leases of 15 years or longer approved this year.

While the bills sought to help lessees, they would have diminished the land holdings of large property owners like Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate….

Related: KSBE: We Will Fight Leasehold Conversion Bills

read … Lease Conversion

HB2571: Legislature Considering New HECO Business Model

IM: Introduced into the Hawai`i State Legislature this year, HB 2571 would divorce electric generation from electric delivery.

The bill, authored by Representatives Chris Lee, Scott Saiki and Nicole Lowen is being heard Tues Feb 9 by the Hawai`i House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection at 8 a.m. in Conference Room 325.

read … Legislature Considering New HECO Business Model

Proposals would expand after-school care for middle schoolers

HNN: …Several bills moving through the Legislature would make the program permanent. One idea: Rather than relying solely on general fund money, the program would charge parent's a fee.

But there are some concerned about the program's funding needs.

"The parents and taxpayers that I talk to, they're concerned that we're taking more resources out of the classroom and loading them on before school, after school," said state Sen. Sam Slom….

CB: School Leadership Is Recognizing We Have Had The Power All Along

read … REACH

Hawaii law to limit tenants' stay in public housing advances

KITV: Hawaii lawmakers are moving forward with bill to limit the number of years tenants could stay in public housing if they agree to an incentive program first.

The bill aims to address the long waitlists to get into public housing. During a hearing Monday, the House Housing Committee passed the bill, which would give tenants who agree to a five-year limit priority on the waitlist. They're changing the bill so seniors and disabled people could participate in some incentives without agreeing to the time limit.

read … Progress

Homeless find permanent housing during ‘successful’ start to Hale Mauliola

KHON: Three months after it opened, the city’s first transitional housing center is halfway filled, and it shouldn’t be long until it’s at maximum capacity.

When KHON2 went back to the facility on Sand Island Monday, we saw all the containers in place with 32 people now living there….

The city says six Hale Mauliola residents have already found a permanent place to live, and they’re calling that a victory.

One of the current residents at Hale Mauliola, Kala Koanui has lived just about everywhere. But he says that after he moved into Hale Mauliola, he felt like he got his dignity back, and he’s on his way to finding a permanent place to live.

“I’m open to get into a place, which is really helping with my case manager and everybody else has been helping me, so I just want to say thank you,” he said.

At full capacity, the transitional facility will be able to house around 80 or 90 people. The goal is to transition people into permanent housing in 60 days….

SA: Homeless settle into Hale

HNN: 120 homeless people have applied to stay here.  Of those, several dozen were redirected to other programs.

read … Housing

Ernie Martin Obstructs Affordable Senior Housing project

SA: City Council Chairman Ernie Martin has essentially put a roadblock in front of the $49 million, two-tower Halewaiolu project by not formally introducing a resolution approving the development agreement with Michaels Development Co. Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration announced the agreement on Nov. 9.

Martin said he is holding off until the Caldwell administration meets with Chinatown groups who take issue with certain aspects of the River Street development — meetings he would like to attend, but never initiated himself. It’s time to stop the politicking and move forward a much-needed project.

Without the resolution, Michaels is missing key funding deadlines….

read … More Ernie Martin games

Firearms Bills At Hawaii Legislature

CB: …Hawaii lawmakers are considering a slew of firearms legislation.

On Wednesday a Hawaii House committee will hear a bill that requires firearms owners who have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition due to mental illness “to immediately surrender” their firearms and ammunition to a chief of police.

A similar bill is set for a hearing Thursday before a state Senate committee.

That same committee is also expected to hear a measure that allows county police departments to receive notification if a new applicant granted a permit to possess a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

Another measure, meanwhile, authorizes the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data….

(Other) measures require firearms owners to obtain firearms insurance, requiring county police chiefs to adopt criteria for approval or denial of concealed weapon license applications and prohibiting a person listed in the federal Terrorist Screening Database from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm or ammunition.

read … Firearms Bills At Hawaii Legislature

Soft on Crime: New Ways to Let Criminals Roam Free

CB: In the 2016 Legislative session, no bills may be more ambitious and wide-ranging than House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 2964, which seek to revamp Hawaii’s penal code.

The identical bills, 135 pages long, would eliminate some mandatory sentences to give judges more discretion in drug cases, raise the threshold level for some felonies, and create a new felony category, among other changes.

They were introduced last month based on recommendations from the Penal Code Review Committee, a task force made up 29 stakeholders: judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement officials and other community representatives.

The task force had been charged to take on a once-in-a-decade exercise: Comb through more than 750 pages of criminal statutes that regulate everything from jaywalking to homicide in Hawaii and come up with any necessary revisions.

read … Soft on Crime

Escapee Wanted for Shooting

HTH: Hawaii Island police are searching for a 29-year-old man wanted for questioning in connection with a shooting in the Honolii area on Jan. 31.

Scottie Yanagawa is described as 5-foot-5, 225 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He may now be clean shaven.

He is also wanted for escaping from the Hale Nani correctional facility on Nov. 19. He is considered armed and dangerous.

read … Armed and Dangerous

SB3016:  Will the Hawaii Legislature finally allow the public to see the names of bad cops?

MT: It’s called Senate Bill 3016, and 11 senators introduced it, including Senators J. Kalani English, D–East Maui, and Roz Baker, D–South Maui. It would allow the “disclosure of government records in cases where a police officer has been suspended or discharged in a disciplinary action.” Indeed, the text is rather hard-hitting….

read … Transparency

Instead of immediate DUI arrest, HPD sergeant got ride home

HNN:  … Sgt. Dennis Stone was pulled over January 31, just before 2 a.m. He was off-duty, but driving his HPD-subsidized Dodge Charger.

The officer who pulled him over wrote in his report that Stone was driving on Kahekili Highway with a tire that was so flat it was shredded and the rim was sparking. 

The officer also wrote that Stone's breath smelled of alcohol.

A second patrol officer gave Stone the "courtesy" ride to his home, about two miles away.

But just minutes later, the officers discovered the Dodge Charger had damage to the front fender. That's when the same officer who drove Stone home rushed back to return him to the scene. 

Jonathan Burge, a former HPD officer who's now a criminal defense attorney, said the officers' actions don't just raise eyebrows. They could have put a serious investigation in jeopardy….

What makes the episode worse is that law enforcement experts say the current case against Stone probably won't hold up in court.

"The case itself is very weak," said Aaron Hunger, a University of Hawaii criminology instructor. "I would doubt criminally the prosecutor's office would see this as a case that would be winnable. A lot of policies were not followed."

Stone is on restricted duty while criminal and internal investigations continue.

He is a 24-year veteran of the force, and he's been in trouble before.

Three years ago, as a corporal, he was charged with assault for beating up his daughter's boyfriend. He was fired, but got his job back a year later. Four months after that, he got promoted.

read … Special Treatment

Airport security guards accused of bribery plead not guilty

HNN: …Ruben Alonzo, Euriphides Magalang, Raini Ilagan and Gay Gatchalian are accused of demanding and accepting thousands of dollars from cab drivers who work at the airport.

If drivers did not pay the guards, the guards allegedly harassed them and drove away their customers….

read … Bribery

Karen Awana Running For Office?

PDF: …Karen Awana, a Democrat, has pulled papers with the state Office of Elections for her former District 43 seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

She also has a fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday at St. Andrew’s Priory, where the suggested donation is $100.

Awana, who was fined thousands of dollars in recent years by the state Campaign Spending Commission for various filing violations, lost re-election by a wide margin to Republican Andria Tupola in 2014….

read … Doesn’t Know When to Quit

Disgusting Organic Mac Nuts Infested with Salmonella 

FSN: …The potential for contamination was noted after FDA testing done with our supplier, Mahina Mele, based in Captain Cook, Hawaii, revealed the presence of Salmonella in organic macadamia nuts.

Production of the product has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

Consumers who have purchased 4-ounce pouches of Organic Macadamia Nuts and 8-ounce jars of Organic Macadamia Butter are urged to not consume it.

A Feb. 3 recall by Mahina Mele, also for potential salmonella contamination, covered Izzie Macs! macadamia nuts and Baby Bruddah’s branded macadamia nut butters….

read … Organic Disgusting

Atheists, Devil-Worshippers Renew Push to Drive God off Kaneohe Base

MCT: In its continuing battle to have a "God bless the military" sign at Marine Corps Base Hawaii taken down or moved to chapel grounds, the (mis-named) Military Religious Freedom Foundation says it will pursue federal litigation if it is not permitted to erect nine similar signs referencing other deities (even though the sign does not specify a particular God) or no deity at all.

The commanding officer of the base ruled in October that the original sign would remain where it is.

"This sign will remain in its present location and not be altered in any way," Col. Sean Killeen wrote in a Oct. 9 letter to Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the MRFF.

Background: Hawaii Marine Corps base stands firm on keeping ‘God bless the military’ sign

More Background: Religious sign at Marine base is staying put--Atheist Group to Sue on Behalf of 'Church of Satan'

read … God Bless

Which is More Sacred: Crony Spawn or Albatross?

CB: It makes you wonder what kind of person could get pleasure out of torturing and killing defenseless birds and then smashing their eggs and destroying their nests.

That’s what the Department of Land and Natural Resources says happened Dec. 27-28 at Kaena Point, when people went on a rampage, destroying 15 nests of Laysan albatross.

Of the 15 nests, 11 attending adult birds are missing and presumed dead. Body parts of four other birds have been found near their nests. Some had their feet cut off….

The law enforcement office of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Honolulu Police Department are working with DLNR on the investigation.

Hawaii News Now reported that the albatross killings at Kaena may have been done by teenagers and that authorities “want to question four students, several who attend Punahou School.”

I called Laurel Husain, communications director of Punahou School, on Friday. Husain confirmed that she sent the following statement to Hawaii News Now:

“We were dismayed by the senseless destruction of the albatross nests in the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. This important nesting area and the surrounding reserve are wonderful educational resources for students in Hawaii. It is disturbing to hear that teenagers with ties to Punahou, possibly one current student, may have been involved in the incident. This deplorable act contradicts the values of the School and the respect of our community and the environment that we protect. The school is fully cooperating with the various agency investigations as they gather facts about who was actually involved.”

Husain said Friday that she had not heard anything more about the investigation.

read … Which Crony’s Kids?

Accused of Rape at UH?  Women’s Center Wants to Talk You into Admitting Guilt

KL: Students accused of sexual assault now have a designated person to go to if they want advice and advocacy while under investigation.  (IQ Test: Would you accept this help?)

“The university and PAU Violence thought that it was really important to be able look for solutions... To really help end violence is to be able to engage with both the victim and the respondent,” Respondent Advocate Chris Yanuaria said.

(Clue: If you have been raped, call the police.  Rape is a felony.)

Yanuaria took on this role mid-January under the campus Prevention, Awareness and Understanding Violence Against Women (PAU) program. His job is to advise and advocate for student respondents with information, resources and support in cases of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and other gender-based violence. He also helps coordinate PAU Violence’s prevention education efforts regarding domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking….

…Hannah Liebriech, co-chairperson of the Graduate Student Organization’s advocacy committee, is concerned that the focus would be on the accused and there would be more victim blame.

“My concern would be that if you have a ... position designated to the accused, when in fact [under Title IX] they have equal access to ... the same resources available as the accuser, I think that maybe serves to again perpetuate inequitable distribution of resources in favor of the accused,” she said.  (LOLROTF!)

Yanuaria said there’s an impression that he’s taking the side of the perpetrators, (accused = guilty) though this is not the case.

“I really care about the safety on the UH campus and care about the vulnerable populations and so the way I do that work to prevent violence is by working with those who are the alleged perpetrator,” he said. “I work to help just ensure that abuse doesn’t happen, that no one gets abused again.”

(Translation: I know they are guilty and I will try to talk them into making a false confession.)

read … IQ Test for the Accused – pass or fail

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