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Wednesday, July 6, 2016
July 6, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:34 PM :: 5710 Views

Caldwell Planning Smear Tactics?

OHA Trustees Banned from Talking to OHA Employees

Ige Signs 13 Bills into Law

Honolulu Republicans Endorse Djou for Mayor

Russian Spy Ship Now Off Hawaii

Former AG: Hawaii’s Short-Term Rental Regulation Preempted By Federal Law

State and Local Sales Taxes: How Does Hawaii Compare?

NYT: How Anti-Growth Sentiment Thwarts Equality

HGEA: Our Hospital Job Trust is More Important Than Your Lives

HGEA: …Maui’s beauty and charm is anchored in its rural character. However, being rural has certain economic realities attached. Due to its smaller population, Maui cannot afford the same quality and quantity of healthcare services that are available in urban areas. For the same reason, Maui cannot attract and retain certain medical specialists.

Has anyone given thought as to why the Maui hospital system is losing money? Well-meaning and expensive hospital projects, cardiovascular services, emergency helicopter services, etc., have saved lives but have financially bankrupted the hospital. In answer to this mismanagement, the state suggests cutting pay and benefits to healthcare workers….

read … You Must Die to Pay HGEA

Caldwell, Wife Paid Over $1M a Year by Local Banks

CB: On July 1, Kirk Caldwell received a 5 percent pay increase as Honolulu mayor. His base salary is now $164,928 a year.

But the mayor draws his biggest paycheck not from city and county taxpayers but from a major financial institution in the state.

Territorial Savings Bank, Hawaii’s fifth-largest bank, paid Caldwell at least $200,000 in 2015, according to the mayor’s financial disclosure form with the city….

A Civil Beat analysis of Caldwell’s earlier financial disclosures since 2010, when he servedas interim mayor from July 20 to Oct. 11, show that the bank has increased his annual pay substantially.

In 2010 the compensation ranged from $25,000 to $49,999. (The disclosure forms require filers to list dollar amounts in ranges.)

Caldwell did not file a form in 2011, as he was out of office.

But in 2012, the year he was elected to a full four-year term, the mayor reported the director’s job paid from $200,000 to $299,999. In 2013 and 2014, the amount ranged from $150,000 to $199,999, but in 2015 it was back up to the higher range….

“This is a major institution on Oahu that has a lot of interest in a lot of areas, so it’s problematic,” Djou said of Caldwell’s compensation. “I think the people deserve a mayor dedicated to and only interested in looking out for the people of the City and County of Honolulu, and not necessarily having a fiduciary interest to look elsewhere.” ….

12 of the 15 officers and directors of Territorial Savings donated $36,216 to the mayor’s campaigns from 2010 to the end of last year….

Caldwell’s wife, Tanoue, is also in the banking business. As a vice chair with the Bank of Hawaii Corp., she reported earning from $700,000 to $799,999 in 2015, according to her husband’s financial disclosure form….

(Bank business plan: Buy politicians, have them run up debts which you service for a hefty profit.  Then have them raise taxes to run up more debts so you can make more profit.)

read … Bought n Paid For

HART Board Member: We Need to Reassess Rail Lies

CB:  …While it’s not unusual for rail projects across the nation to run over-budget, the average cost overruns for 38 U.S. public transit projects surveyed by the Federal Transit Administration in 2011 was 37.5 percent. Only 10 of those projects exceeded original estimates by more than 60 percent.

Felix suggested that previous cost estimates for Honolulu rail may have been “strategic representations,” which he said is “a euphemism for lying,” and said he expects to reassess previous cost and ridership estimates.

“We have to put all of the options available to us on the table and assess them realistically,” he said. “There are many concerns. I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure that by working together … we can come up with a viable program to salvage this project.” …

read … Salvage

Pro-NextEra Senators Meet to Plan Lawsuit Against Ige

HNN:  …Hawaii News Now has learned that Senate leaders met Tuesday over Tom Gorak's appointment, which some see as an attempt to block NextEra Energy's $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaiian Electric.

But Ige seemed unphased Tuesday about the possibility of legal challenge over his pick.

"I get sued almost every day by people who interpret the law differently," Ige said.

The (pro-NextEra) senators believe the law requires that (pro-NextEra) former Commissioner Michael Champley, whose term expired Thursday, remain in office as a holdover until (Anti-NextEra) Gorak's nomination is approved by the Senate next year.

That would leave Champley with the deciding vote (2-1 in favor) on the NextEra deal….

read … Save Next Era

Hawaii Ethics Board Member Caught Conspiring to Let Kenoi Off Hook

WHT: An ethics complaint has been filed against one of Hawaii County’s Board of Ethics members.

Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland, who is pursuing a separate ethics complaint against Mayor Billy Kenoi for misuse of his county purchasing card, is alleging board vice chairman Ken Goodenow has not been impartial on the issue.

In the complaint submitted Tuesday, he cites an alleged conversation an anonymous woman overheard in Honolulu last May in which Goodenow is claimed to have said the ethics complaint against Kenoi would be delayed until the “mayor is no longer in office.” The conversation allegedly occurred outside a meeting of the state Campaign Spending Commission, which Goodenow also sits on.

Hyland declined to identify the woman during a phone interview but said she would be willing to testify under oath before the commission. He said the woman contacted him after realizing Goodenow sits on the county ethics board.

The complaint alleges Goodenow appeared happy about the delay and was “laughing and making fun of it.”

“He’s tried to hold himself up as a neutral party … and I don’t believe that to be the truth,” Hyland said….

read … Ethics complaint filed against Hawaii County Board of Ethics member

Ominous Court Rulings For The State Ethics Commission

CB: Losing a legal battle over school field trips in Hawaii could have wider implications, as could a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Virginia case….

ILind: Court rulings prompt lots of ethics questions

read … Ominous

How Cool Schools Turned into a Gold Plated Christmas Tree

SA: …the bids reflect the requirements of two bills enacted this session: Senate Bill 3126, enacted as Act 47 (2016), and House Bill 2569, enacted as Act 176 (2016).

These measures call for much more than adding air conditioning to schools. They also require modifications to school facilities to accommodate a range of energy efficiency features and the use of renewable energy to move public schools toward netzero energy use (i.e., a school’s energy needs must be completely satisfied by renewable power sources).

Because the majority of Hawaii’s schools are more than 50 years old and their construction and electrical systems reflect a different time, retrofitting them with modern features and systems, which they weren’t designed to support, often requires electrical and construction upgrades.

Older school buildings also were not designed to be airtight and relied on natural ventilation for cooling. Because of climate change, tradewinds are decreasing and average ocean and air temperatures are higher, making air conditioning and other heat-abatement measures necessary to ensure school environments suitable for teaching and learning.

And when it comes to ensuring new air conditioning systems function effectively, the building envelope needs to be sealed, which requires replacing windows and doors, and installing insulation.​

Add to this the requirements that renewable energy systems must also be installed to reduce the electricity costs at our schools, and it’s clear the scope of work involved in addressing the requirements of the recently passed legislation goes far beyond the purchase and installation of air conditioning units….

read … Hang Another Ornament on this Bill

Police Union Wants Final Say On Body Cams

CB: The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers wants more control over rules for the cameras, which are meant to improve accountability and transparency….

read … No Body Cams

Honolulu ranked among the 10 most expensive U.S. cities for apartment rentals

PBN: …It can be costly to rent an apartment in Honolulu, but it’s a bargain compared to renting in cities like San Francisco and New York, according to the apartment rental website Zumper, which analyzes data from more than 1 million active listings.

Hawaii’s capital is the ninth-most expensive rental market in July among the 100 largest U.S. cities. The average monthly rent payment in Honolulu is $1,840 for a 1-bedroom apartment, down 1.1 percent from June, and $2,600 for a 2-bedroom apartment, up 1.2 percent….

read … Number 9

Workforce drug tests show highest marijuana use in Hawaii since 2013—1% of Hawaii Residents Now Have Marijuana Card

PBN: Marijuana use in Hawaii is increasing and is expected to keep rising as the nation continues to loosen the rules surrounding the substance, according to Carl Linden, the scientific director of toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

Marijuana usage in the second quarter rose 32 percent from the same quarter last year, to 2.9 percent from 2.2 percent — the highest rate Linden has seen since the second quarter of 2013.

The number of registered medical marijuana patients has surged since the state Department of Health first began administrating the program in January 2015. The DOH said the number could more than double after improvements were made to the process in February.

In January 2015, the department had 11,402 registered patients and program participants. According to its website, that figure had increased to 14,492 by the end of June. The DOH has also awarded the first medical marijuana dispensary licenses, which should lead to a continued increase in patients….

read … Keep the People Doped Up

Hawaii becomes last state to ban sex trafficking

KITV: Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law Tuesday. It makes sex trafficking a violent crime and class A felony. It also expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.

Advocates say victims of sex trafficking will get help and social services instead of being sent to jail. They say victims who come forward will have more protection and won't be forced to testify, which can be dangerous.

Ige also signed a bill that provides funds for law enforcement agencies to test untested sex assault evidence kits. The Honolulu Police Department had about 1,500 rape kits that had not been tested earlier this year.

read … Last

Retired Honolulu officer pleads no contest to negligent homicide charge

KITV:  …Charles Duncan pleaded no contest to negligent homicide for causing the death of a 49-year-old woman.

Police say Shari Afuso was in a marked crosswalk when she was hit by a pickup truck driven by Duncan.  The 73-year-old retired officer faces up to five years in prison.

Duncan is set to be sentenced in September….

read … Homicide

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