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Sunday, July 17, 2016
July 17, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:42 PM :: 5306 Views

Poll: Djou Ahead 39-30

See it Here: Your August 13 Primary Ballot

DLNR Seeks Nominations for Game Management Commission

Hawaii Says ‘Aloha’ to Direct Primary Care

Feds: Honolulu Highest Consumer Prices in USA

No Tax Hike? Then Wait 20 Years for Your Roads!

OHA Chair Lindsey Still Missing in Action

Sue and Settle Scheme Aims for Federal Control of Waters off Main Hawaiian Isles

Honolulu Charter Commission Prepares 27 Amendments for Ballot 

HGEA Loses—Ige Veto will Stand:  Perreira -- ‘Incompetent Fools’

SA: …Lawmakers convened again on Tuesday in the veto override session in an effort to approve a new version of the bill that would be more appealing to Ige, but negotiations over a new draft haven’t advanced to a point where the Legislature has a specific proposal it can act upon, according to lawmakers and others familiar with the effort.

The Ige administration has the option of calling lawmakers back into a special session later this year if an agreement can be reached later with the public worker unions over the Maui privatization, which would allow Kaiser Permanents to operate what are now three publicly run hospitals.

Randy Perreira, executive director of the HGEA, described the Ige team as “incompetent fools,” and said he refused to meet with Ige last week to discuss the issue because “we knew the governor is not looking at something that we would view to be equitable for the employees.”

HGEA is “very, very seriously” considering filing a lawsuit over the privatization effort similar to one filed by the United Public Workers union, Perreira said.

“We’re not looking to be obstructionist to Kaiser, but it seems that being obstructionist is the path to getting David Ige’s attention,” Pereira said.

That UPW lawsuit alleges the administration’s Maui privatization effort violates its state contracts with the unions that extend until June 30, 2017.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in May issued an injunction in the UPW lawsuit that temporarily halted the privatization effort. Kaiser was scheduled to take control of the hospitals on July 1 but has been unable to do so because of the injunction.

Ige’s office has been in closed-door negotiations this week with UPW representatives to try to develop a severance package for the UPW Maui hospital workers that would persuade that union to agree to settle its lawsuit….

Perreira said state Director of Finance Wesley Machida is “vehemently opposed” to any early retirement benefit….

“Our upset with the governor is at this point immeasurable….”

read … Maui hospital settlement veto likely to stand

Clinton Winning Hawaii 49-25

SA: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton retains a solid lead among Oahu voters as Republicans and Democrats prepare for their national conventions, with 49 percent of likely voters here saying they would vote for Clinton if the election for president were held today.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is the top choice of 25 percent of Oahu voters, while 6 percent of those surveyed said they do not plan to vote in the presidential race this year, according to a new Hawaii Poll.

Clinton is the favorite of 70 percent of the Democrats surveyed, while Trump is the top choice for 66 percent of the Republicans polled.

read … Clinton

Caldwell’s mayoral chances dissipating, blowing in wind

Borreca: …30 percent of the likely voters say they would vote for Caldwell, while 39 percent prefer Djou; but on the other hand, 53 percent say they approve of Caldwell’s job performance, including 60 percent of Americans of Japanese ancestry.

But Caldwell is winning just 34 percent of the AJA vote. January’s poll had Caldwell winning 44 percent of the AJA vote. He also had 49 percent of the Caucasian vote and the latest poll shows Caldwell with just 26 percent. So there is much slippage.

Rail appears to be an important part of Caldwell’s drop in support. In this month’s poll, just 31 percent of likely voters say Caldwell would do the best job “addressing issues related to rail.”

But, 43 percent of the voters say Djou would do the best job.

In all questions asked regarding the election and rail, former Mayor Peter Carlisle came in third.

Four years ago Caldwell was the construction industry’s guy. The construction industry and unions slammed Caldwell’s opponent, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, with such misleading slanderous ads and commercials that Cayetano was able to force an apology from the Pacific Resource Partnership political action group.

Today, Djou, with his moderate message of build rail but control costs, appears to be winning both union support and voters.

read … Caldwell’s mayoral chances dissipating, blowing in wind

2012: Election Pattern Repeats itself?

SA: The results are being closely watched because the top vote-getter in the Aug. 13 primary election needs to capture 50 percent of votes cast plus one in order to win the mayor’s seat. If Djou were to collect 39 percent of the votes cast, as the poll suggests, he would need to face off in the Nov. 8 general election against the second-place finisher.

In the 2012 primary election for mayor, former Gov. Ben Cayetano finished with 30,993 votes more than Caldwell. But in terms of percentages, Cayetano received 44.7 percent of the votes cast; Caldwell, 29.5 percent; and then-incumbent Carlisle, 25.1 percent. In the November runoff, Caldwell won by 22,974 votes, and 53.9 percent of votes cast.

The poll numbers suggest most voters have already decided for whom to cast their ballots in the primary, with only 9 percent indicating they didn’t know or refusing to answer the question.

Caldwell’s favorability and job performance ratings have dropped since the last Hawaii Poll taken in January, but not as badly as they fell from January 2015 to January 2016….

His 53 percent favorable rating in the current poll dropped from 54 percent in January 2016 and 64 percent in January 2015. The 41 percent unfavorable rating is higher than the 33 percent unfavorable rating of January 2016 and 22 percent of January 2015.

Similarly, 53 percent of those polled this month said they approved of Caldwell’s job performance, down from 59 percent in January 2016 and 70 percent in January 2015. His disapproval rating is now 44 percent, up from 32 percent in January 2016 and 20 percent in January 2015.

Caldwell’s 53 percent favorable rating is lower than the 62 percent rating for Djou and 56 percent for Carlisle. The Honolulu City Council, with whom Caldwell has often clashed in the past 3-1/2 years, scored a lower favorability than the mayor at 45 percent….

read … History Repeats?

Easing Council term limits will deny voters fresh faces, ideas

Shapiro: …A proposed 2006 Charter amendment that would have extended or eliminated Council term limits was defeated, with only 40 percent voter support.

It’s as bad an idea now and deserves the same fate if the Charter Commission, which was appointed by the mayor and Council, puts it on the November ballot.

The Council is increasingly a closed shop for incumbents and career politicians wielding big campaign funds provided by lobbyists, labor unions, corporations and city contractors.

Incumbents almost always retain their seats easily, either unopposed or running against underfunded challengers.

The only spirited competition for Council seats is when incumbents hit term limits, and even then, newcomers often face state lawmakers moving to the Council; five of the nine current Council members are former legislators.

The Charter Commission should be working to encourage more competition in municipal elections, not less.

The system already has loopholes that get some Council members more than eight years.

Half the members get two extra years after reapportionments, and for those elected to midterm vacancies, partial terms don’t count the toward the two-term limit….

read … Term Limits

LAWSUIT filed: Hermina Morita vs. Thomas Gorak

IM: Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher attorneys Mark J. Bennett and Mateo Caballero represent Hermina Morita in a civil lawsuit (S.P. No. 16-1-0251 ECN) filed on Friday against Thomas Gorak….

Mark J. Bennett  served as Attorney General of Hawaii from 2003 to 2010 during the Linda Lingle administration. He represented NextEra is several proceedings before the PUC including Big Wind, the Inter-Island Cable and the proposed HECO-NextEra merger.

The gist of the suit is the alleged improper appointment of Thomas Gorak to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

The lawsuit stated, “Since July 1, 2016, Thomas Gorak has wrongfully claimed, wrongfully occupied, and usurped the office of Commissioner of the HPUC, an office of the State of Hawaii.

Thomas Gorak has no legal right to do so, because Michael Champley is still the lawful officeholder and Commissioner of the HPUC and will remain so, unless and until Thomas Gorak is confirmed by the Senate of the State of Hawaii as an HPUC Commissioner.”

read … LAWSUIT filed: Hermina Morita vs. Thomas Gorak

NextEra Has Until July 29 to Appeal

IM: …HECO and NextEra can file a Motion for Reconsideration with the Commission, asking the Commission to modify their position.

Some people believe that this is probably the most likely option, and would buy time for NextEra to consider other options.

The Commission`s Rules of Practice and Procedure state that the aggrieved party or any other party must file a motion for reconsideration “within ten days after the decision or order is served upon the party.”

Two days are allowed for NextEra to receive a snail mail copy, even though the Commission electronically sent copies to all Parties on Friday. Thus NextEra will “officially” be notified on Tuesday, July 19. The motion for reconsideration must be filed within ten days henceforth….

read … July 29

Ruderman: I can be Blackmailed into Raising Your Taxes

HTH: …some lawmakers remain skeptical about the explanation and point to problems within the department of spending federal funds that it has received.

A backload in federal funds, currently at $524 million, was one reason why the tax proposal was defeated.

“I think a little bit of it is posturing,” said state Sen. Russell Ruderman, who represents Puna and parts of Ka‘u.

“I think that’s what it’s really about. They didn’t get the increase they wanted this year and they are punishing people as a result.”

He said the tax hike would hurt low-income residents the most.

Sakahara said the department’s federal funds have been dedicated to projects.

“Those projects will still happen,” he said.

Transportation recently completed a Highway 130 widening project from Keaau to Shower Drive, but bottlenecks still remain.

The decision could have the biggest impact on Hawaii Island, which is projected to see a 62 percent population increase between 2007 and 2035, according to the state’s highway transportation plan.

Ruderman said he wasn’t told this could be the result of defeating the gas tax bill and wasn’t shown the spreadsheet Transportation provided to the media explaining the current funding plan.

But he said he is willing to consider it again to save the widening project.

“They never talked to me and gave me an ultimatum,” he said. 

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said the deferral list didn’t come as a surprise. She voted in favor of the gas tax increase and expects it to be proposed again next year….

read … Skeptical

Walter Ritte Tries  to Shake Down Queens Hospital

HNN: Protesters stood at the front entrance of Queen’s Medical Center on Friday with signs demanding free medical care for Native Hawaiians.

They claim it was a part of a trust deal made centuries ago when Hawaiians were dying of foreign diseases.

Walter Ritte, who organized the protest, said that the center did not fulfill Queen Emma’s promise.

“She not only formed the hospital, but she dedicated all of her lands, which is like some 10,000 acres or so, so that the hospital could have funding to last as long as it could last,” Ritte said.

“Her lands have been privatized by a corporation,” he said. “And what we have today is the Queen's Medical Center, which it has nothing to do with Hawaiians.”  (Unless it starts paying me.)

read … Shake Down

Gabbard Sitting on $1.88M

CB: According to her July quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission, the Hawaii Democrat is sitting on $1.88 million in cash.

Gabbard, seeking her third term representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, spent $148,000 in the most recent reporting cycle.

Gabbard’s primary opponent, Shay Chan Hodges, raised just $3,100, spent $147 and had about $3,000 left in cash.

Republican Eric Hafner reported no financial activity, while the FEC said another Republican, Angela Aulani Kaaihue, listed no records at all….

read … $1.88M

COFA: Guam Governor Deports Inmate back to Chuuk

PG: …With the stroke of his pen, and a one-way ticket, Gov. Eddie Calvo made good on his promise to deport felony or habitual non-citizen criminals from the island with or without the assistance of the federal government.

Yesterday, a citizen from the Federated States of Micronesia became the island’s test case for the government of Guam as Calvo ordered his deportation. In order to effectuate the process, Calvo invoked his Organic Act authority and issued executive order 2016-15, which he signed Sunday, July 10.

According to Oyaol Ngirairikl, the governor’s spokeswoman, through a collaborative effort with the Department of Corrections, FSM Citizen Ninton Hauk, a DOC inmate, was selected and agreed to have his sentence commuted in exchange for a one-way ticket to his home state of Chuuk. “He’s been deported,” Ngirairikl confirmed to the Post.

DOC Deputy Director Carla Borja also confirmed that Hauk was transported to the A.B. Won Pat International Airport yesterday morning by corrections officers and escorted to the plane, which departed at 9:20 a.m.

“DOC bore the cost of the travel,” Borja said. “His commutation was based on his removal from DOC and the island.” …

In his order, and in a letter to FSM President Peter Christian dated July 12, Calvo stated, “As the Governor of Guam, I have 'residual authority to enforce the immigration laws of the United States,’ and authority to ’grant pardons and reprieves … for offenses against local laws.” ….

read … Deported

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