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Wednesday, July 20, 2016
July 20, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:38 PM :: 3099 Views

Rep Mark Takai Dies--Special Election in November

Hawaiian Electric withdraws request for approval of LNG contract and generation upgrades

Supreme Court: Mixed Decision on Office Of Election Ballot Practices

Voters win ballot shortage case against the Hawaii Office of Elections

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 19, 2016

Zika Spreads—1300 Cases in Continental US and Hawaii

Hospital Privatization: Legislators Override Veto, Give HGEA, UPW Millions

SA: The House voted 43 to 3 to override the governor’s veto, easily securing the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn Ige’s decision. Reps. Romy Cachola, Calvin Say and Cynthia Thielen voted against overriding the veto. Five representatives were absent for the vote.

The Senate vote was 18 to 4, narrowly securing the necessary 17 votes needed.

Sens. Les Ihara, Laura Thielen, Donna Kim and Sam Slom, the Senate’s only Republican, voted against overriding the governor’s veto. Sen. Clarence Nishihara and Sen. Glenn Wakai voted yes, but with reservations.

Three senators were excused.

read … Override

After All Caldwell’s Tax Hike Hype, HART Middle Street Contract Somehow Magically Comes in on Budget

KHON: The airport section of the rail route covers a 5.2-mile area from Aloha Stadium to Middle Street.

HART announced it is awarding the construction contract to Shimmick/Traylor/Granite, described as a hui of companies from California and Ohio. The price tag: $875 million.

"The good news is that this is a number we were looking for it does not drive up the cost estimates that we have had from the Federal Transportation Administration, and we have a really good set of companies that put in a quality bid," said HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas.

HART said under the design-build contract, it was able to ask the four companies for their best and final offer shaving of millions in the process.

"We believe the effort was worth it to take a few extra weeks because the winning bidder reduced their price by $35,250,000," said Grabauskas.

The contract covers the construction of four rail stations at Pearl Harbor, the airport, Lagoon drive and Middle Street.

Grabauskas doesn't anticipate any delays tied to the state's airport modernization project….

Grabauskas expects work in the airport stretch of the guide way will get started early next year.

He said this award should keep the projected price tag of rail in the $7 through $8 billion range but it will still only take us to Middle Street.

The final 4 miles and eight stations into town are expected to be the most challenging, but without extra money, the work on that segment is now on hold.

read …  HART views on-budget airport contract as promising sign for rail

Facebook Being used to Impose Political Correctness: HPD Officer Reassigned After Writing Incorrect Things

HNN: A Honolulu police officer is under investigation for a Facebook post that appears to threaten Black Lives Matter members.

In the post, officer Vincent Tripi writes, "(expletive) BlackLivesMatter. Unfriend me PLEASE if you’re offended. I’m locked and loaded 24/7. Come!”

Tripi has since deleted the post and taken down his Facebook page, but a screenshot of his post continues to circulate.

(Thus reminding us that FaceBook is a means for the lords of political correctness to reach out and touch anybody.  Big Brother is watching.)

An HPD spokeswoman said that Tripi is a solo bike officer, and has been assigned to desk duty while an investigation is ongoing….

Joyner said Tripi should be removed from the department before something terrible happens….  (Hmmmm….)

TH: Black Jobs Matter: How Socialism Has Destroyed Black Communities

read … Self-Defense

School misconduct investigations Sideline Employees for Year

HNN: Four of the 34 Hawaii public school employees on leave as misconduct allegations against them are investigated have been out for a year or more, according to new figures reported to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

That's down from January, when 12 were out for a year or more. the state Department of Education reported….

read … Streamline?

Teachers say Hawaii public schools plagued with faulty furniture, equipment

KHON: Teachers shared shocking photos with KHON2 of broken chairs and broken desks found at various schools across the state.

We’ve learned it’s an ongoing problem. So what’s being done to fix it? …

“It’s really up to principal priority. They have a weighted student formula plus funding sources able to prioritize everything from curriculum, teacher, supplies for front office,” said Kunz.

The DOE says it’s been aware of the broken furniture problem for awhile now, and needs to be responsible when using taxpayer money, so it can’t throw out furniture every couple of years.

read … Plagued

County Recreation Department has One Employee for Every 2.8 Acres of parks

KHON: …“We’re so busy with more than 10,000 summer fun kids throughout the entire island, across the island with 63 sites,” said Michele Nekota, city Department of Parks and Recreation director.

Although Ala Moana, Kapiolani, and Central Oahu regional parks are the largest and best known parks in the system, they are just three of 287 city parks on Oahu.

Looking at it another way, the city manages approximately 5,200 acres of land with 1,800 regular and personal service employees. That’s one employee for every 2.8 acres of park space….

read … 2.8 Acres

‘Village’ offers hope to homeless

SA: …Local business executive Kurisu last week unveiled his vision for a community providing housing for the homeless, a complex he hopes will be reminiscent of the plantation-style village in which his family first set down roots in Hawaii.

If this project succeeds, it should help to guide government on how partnerships with private compa- nies and organizations can provide solutions for Oahu’s persistent homelessness crisis more effectively than the public sector alone….

the organization will provide up to 200 modular homes that had been purchased through the “Aloha for Japan” relief effort following that nation’s 2011 catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown….  (NOTE: Homes with solid walls—no tents.)

What could make this project more of a community than a shelter are the plans for permanence.

The project will serve families who have fallen into homelessness; tenants, who will pay $400-$500 in monthly rent, will be able to stay as long as they like as they work their way back to a more solid financial footing.

And here’s one promising route for them to follow: Vicky Cayetano, the state’s former first lady and the longtime owner of United Laundry Services nearby in Kalihi, stands ready to offer work to at least some of the new residents….

For example, this village is unlikely to be the solution to the hardened encampment of many homeless who have settled in and live off the grid, some engaging in drug sales and other illegal activity, according to the Institute for Human Services. 

(Good point: To support Kurisu’s effort the State DoT should clear out and permanently fence off the tweeker camp from under the adjoining section of the H-1 freeway so they don’t harass the residents of this village.)

The city is taking the right approach, however, by tapping its network of social service agencies to find the right tenants for this project — families who want the stability of permanent homes….

read … No Tents

State Pays for Homeless Programs Slashed by Obama Administration

HNN: …In April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development slashed all funding to the IHS Rapid Rehousing Program, along with seven other homeless programs on Oahu.

The agency changed its criteria for distributing money, putting programming that helps hundreds -- like the Kanakaole family -- in doubt.

"Scoring is based on the ability of a system to coordinate, triage and assess homeless clients moving them into housing as quickly as possible," IHS spokesman Kimo Carvalho said.

According to HUD, the programs weren't moving people into permanent housing as quickly as the agency would like. IHS lost out on nearly $300,000 -- money that could have helped 29 additional families.

If the state didn't come up with the money to replace the funding, more than 300 people would have likely ended up back on the street. The agencies affected help a wide variety of clients, including homeless teens, people with HIV/AIDS or mental illness and families down on their luck.

This week, the state partnered with Aloha United Way in an effort to keep the problem from getting worse. The organization agreed to reallocate $600,000 of its state funding to help those programs, some on the verge of collapse.

"The additional funding that we will receive from the state this week is about $108,000. That will allow us to serve another 15 to 20 households," Carvalho said….

read … Homeless programs whose federal funding was slashed get much-needed help

Hawaii groups push co-op utility after failed merger

AP: …Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative, a group on the Big Island pushing for a co-op utility there, formed in 2014 in response to the proposed merger between NextEra and Hawaiian Electric, said the group's spokesman, Marco Mangelsdorf.

"Now that we have a decision from the commission, it's a whole new day in terms of what comes next," Mangelsdorf said.

Groups like the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association can provide financing options for potential co-ops.

Another option government officials could pursue is a municipal model, where the utility is run by the state or county.

The City of Boulder is working on starting a municipal utility. To make it happen, the city council there ended its franchise agreement with investor-owned utility Xcel Energy, and it's considering issuing bonds to purchase the utility's distribution network for up to $214 million, said Sarah Huntley, spokeswoman for the City of Boulder.

Those opening co-ops typically do so when the utility already there is agreeable, Bissell said.

Hawaiian Electric Industries doesn't have a comment on the idea of a co-op utility model in Hawaii, said Cliff Chen, manager of investor relations.

Hawaii recently approved spending $1.2 million to study what type of utility would save money and help state reach its aggressive renewable energy goals.

IM: Hawaiian Electric Company waging policy through media releases

Read … Co-op

Mainland Anti-GMO Loons, Civil Beat Team up to Attack Kauai County Water Board Nominee

KE: …The mainland-based Center for Food Safety has intensified its efforts to build opposition to Beth Tokioka's nomination to the Kauai Board of Water Supply.

The anti-GMO advocacy group sent out an email blast to its list yesterday, urging people to submit testimony against Beth's nomination prior to Wednesday's Council vote. CFS is opposing Beth solely because she works for Syngenta.

The blast generated more than 300 emails -- update: it's now over 500 -- against Beth, many of them by people who live on other islands and the mainland.

Each email was identical, though the first batch misspelled Council Chair Mel Rapozo's last name….

The campaign also underscores the cozy relationship between CFS and Civil Beat, which yesterday printed an article highlighting concerns that CFS and Earthjustice had about the appointment. Prior to the article, the Council had received no comments against Beth, and 18 in her favor — more than had been submitted on behalf of any other candidate for a county board or commission.

This is the second time that a Civil Beat article or editorial has appeared just hours before CFS launched a direct action. Previously, CB published an editorial endorsing the recommendations of the Joint Fact Finding Group on pesticides the same day that CFS had scheduled a press conference and meeting with the governor.

The editorial board includes Civil Beat founder and benefactor Pierre Omidyar, who has donated money to CFS.…

KE: Musings: Anatomy of a Propaganda Play

read … County Water Board

Poll workers sought for primary election

HTH: “Every election year recruiting volunteers is the most challenging part of our job. These election day volunteers are a very valuable part of the election process,” Nakamoto said. “Some volunteers may have to take on two positions just to ensure their polling places are maintained. The downside to this would be voters would more than likely experience delays on Election Day.”

Precinct officials are paid $85. Anyone can volunteer, provided they are 16 years of age or older, can read and write, follow directions and be able to lift 40 pounds. Hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or until excused by the precinct chairman.

Volunteers will be trained prior to Election Day.

For more information, call 933-1591 or email Kui.Kama@hawaiicounty.gov .

read … Volunteers Needed

Kauai PD Lt Stole $75K intended for Drug Buys

KGI: …Karen Kapua, a 20-year veteran of the Kauai Police Department, pleaded guilty to embezzling, stealing and misappropriating money, which included grants from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The theft constituted a violation of federal law because the County of Kauai received federal grants of more than $10,000 annually, including grants from the DEA.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss three other charges in the indictment, including money laundering.

United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii Florence Nakakuni said that according to information produced to the court, Kapua admitted cashing a $25,000 check on Dec. 5, 2014, made payable to her by the County of Kauai, and earmarked for vice section operations, and converting the money to her own use, according to a news release by the Department of Justice.

Kapua, in her former position as lieutenant in the Kauai Police Department’s vice section, was authorized to request County of Kauai checks to obtain money to make undercover purchases of narcotics, the release said.

She stole a total of $75,000, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Tong said….

rad … $75,000

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