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Thursday, August 4, 2016
August 4, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 4323 Views

Fundrace: Djou Beats Caldwell 3-1

Latest Poll on Hawaii Island Shows 2-1 Margin in Support for TMT Construction

Hawaii: $100 Worth only $85.62

Hawaii Family Forum Primary Voter Guide

Honolulu Green Light-Red Light Ratio Designed to Jam Up Traffic

Why it’s so expensive to cool Hawaii’s schools

Hawaii School System Quality Ranks 42nd

US News Ranks Best Hospitals in Hawaii

Hawaii Scores B+ for Laws That Help Expecting and New Parents

Maunalua Bay Recreation Advisory Committee Meets for First Time

DLNR Initiates Public Comment Period to Post One Sign at Marina

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Senatorial Candidates John Carroll and Makani Christensen Challenge Senator Brian Schatz to Debate

Moody’s Hawaiian Electric Downgrade due to “unpredictable and highly political regulatory environment”

Civil Beat Poll: How to Trick Voters into Supporting GE Tax Hike 

CB: The Civil Beat Poll shows that 41 percent of people surveyed say that how the rail work has unfolded — with cost overruns and a tax increase extension — is “troubling.”

About that same number (42 percent) say building rail was a “bad” idea.

Just 15 percent of voters say they feel “good” about how the whole project is progressing. A scant 2 percent say they are unsure.

That said, a healthy majority — 64 percent — still want the rail line to go the full 20 miles from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. Only 28 percent want to stop the route at Middle Street….

How should Honolulu pay for rail? The route is currently estimated to be short $1.5 billion of what’s needed to get to Ala Moana.

(Simple: Establish false dichotomy to get desired result.)

If more local taxes are unavoidable,  …

(They aren’t.  In fact rail could be built without any tax money at all by selling development rights instead of giving them away to campaign contributors.  But this poll isn’t about reality, it is about conditioned choices.) 

…nearly half surveyed (48 percent) prefer the additional revenue come from the general excise tax….

(See how that works?)

read … Simpleminded Trick

Money: Civil Beat Co-Founder NOT Behind Anti-GMO Candidate

KE: …The anti-GMO Hawaii Center for Food Safety Action Fund spent $4,434.66 on election mailers to support 14th House District candidate Fern Rosenstiel.

The money came from the mainland-based Center for Food Safety Action Fund, the uber wealthy banking heiress Lavinia Currier, who started the Sacharuna Foundation and owns a ranch on Molokai; and Oahu resident Randy Ching, co-founder and president of Civil Beat.

(CORRECTION: The Randy Ching who donated to various candidates is a former treasurer of the Sierra Club, not the Randy Ching who is co-founder of Civil Beat.)

Campaign reports show Ching also donated $2,000 directly to Fern's campaign, as well as to Maui House candidate Tiare Lawrence.  Both are on the CFS slate.

read … NOT Civil Beat

Unconsummated hospital deal costs Kaiser $40M

SA: …Kaiser Permanente Hawaii said it has already invested $40 million as it prepares to take over three Maui County public hospitals.

July 1 was the target date for Kaiser to assume control of the facilities. But the transition has been delayed as the state struggles to reach a settlement over benefits for unionized workers.

“Kaiser Permanente has made a significant investment of time and resources in the Maui hospitals because we care about the health of the Maui community,” said Laura Lott, spokeswoman for Kaiser, both a health insurer and medical provider. “We are disappointed that it’s taken this long, but we are committed to making this transition happen because it’s the right thing to do for the health of Maui. We are very grateful for the support and patience of the community as we cope with delays. We share your concern and are eagerly awaiting a resolution to this issue so we can move forward and complete the transition process.”

The state and the United Public Workers missed a Friday deadline for reporting progress on resolving disputes over benefits for displaced workers affected by the proposed privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital. A court had asked Gov. David Ige and the union to report on the negotiations by Friday. Instead the two sides asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for more time and were given until Aug. 18.

Ige and the union, representing a third of the 1,500 workers at the facilities, might reach an agreement within days, said Avery Chumbley, chairman of the Maui region board of public hospital operator Hawaii Health Systems Corp., on Wednesday.

“The governor told me he’s very optimistic they’re going to reach an agreement within the next couple days,” he said. “They had an understanding between themselves and were basically going through the documentation process.”

The HHSC board had an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss contingency plans, including service cuts, in light of the postponed transition.

“We’re not going to take any action as far as eliminations or service cuts. We’re going to take a few more days and see how this unfolds,” Chumbley said. “We’ll wait and see if the governor in fact reaches an agreement with UPW.” ….

read … Cost of UPW

New police commissioner wants board to investigate embattled police chief

KHON: …Sheehan says the commission should launch its own investigation and dig into details of the Kealohas’ spat with Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, which prompted Puana’s mailbox-theft-case defense attorney Alexander Silvert to go to the feds with corruption allegations.

“It appears that he (Chief Kealoha) has lost public trust,” Sheehan told the council. “It appears to me he has mismanaged episodes of officer misconduct in the recent past. I would like more information about his role in the Puana case. I’d like to speak with first assistant public defender Ali Silvert to find out what evidence of wrongdoing or potential wrongdoing he uncovered.”

Always Investigating asked Taketa, why not meet with those who publicly are saying ‘I took evidence to the feds’? Why not meet with them to hear more about what they have to say?

“We’re not equipped to handle a criminal investigation… We can’t carry out a parallel investigation to the federal grand jury process,” Taketa said. “We have one eye on the department and the chief, and the other eye on the city and its liabilities. We need to protect both, liabilities in terms of any wrongful termination suit that may occur if we act without any proper reason. We’re just awaiting the outcome of the federal investigation and we certainly will take whatever action is appropriate at that time.”

Sheehan, explaining her perspective for more immediate action to the city council, invoked a 1930s case involving falsely accused citizens in a high-profile rape case that ended in a hung jury. A former suspect was subsequently killed, and the police commission was formed in the wake of the turmoil.

“We have a historic mandate to move forward and investigate the chief of police,” Sheehan said. “Here we are 84 years later and the chief of police is under investigation for having manufactured evidence and framing another human being. It’s not ironic that’s exactly what happened in the Massie trial.”….

read ... Investigate

City, State Still Talking About Removing Bums from Prime Walkway Between Waikiki and Ala Moana Mall

SA: Question: Regarding the question about homeless people living on the pedestrian island at the intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard and Atkinson Drive ( 2aO1Lh2): If the state Department of Transportation lacks an enforcement mechanism, could it give the city jurisdiction over that area, so that the city could enforce its sit-lie, stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances? …

Answer: Yes, in a manner, and the city and state are in negotiations to accomplish that. The process involves the state granting the city “right of entry” at that location, which is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation.

The state and city have previously entered such agreements. “For example, the state provided right of entry to the city to allow it to assist with enforcement efforts on the mauka and makai sidewalks of Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaako Makai and had offered to extend the same right of entry to the city for the traffic island on Atkinson Drive,” said Julie Ford, a special assistant in the Office of the State Homelessness Coordinator.

Ross Sasamura, director of the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance, confirmed that the discussion is underway.

“The city remains committed to keeping sidewalks and public spaces accessible. The city is currently negotiating with the Hawaii Department of Transportation to extend the existing right of entry to the traffic island at Atkinson Drive and Ala Moana Boulevard,” he said. “Once it’s finalized, the expanded ROE will allow the Department of Facility Maintenance to enforce the city’s ordinances there.”

read … Endless Blither, no Action

Oahu Opening New Oceanfront Homeless Shelter at Kakaako

SA: Oahu’s newest homeless shelter, scheduled to open in Kakaako in late September, uses a new approach designed to quickly get homeless families off the streets and into long-term housing.

A former maintenance building in the heart of the persistent Kakaako homeless encampment was still being renovated Wednesday after a six-month delay caused by the discovery of a malfunctioning sewer pump.

A new pump had been swapped in by Wednesday as Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, pointed out new wood framing on the Diamond Head side of the 5,000-square-foot structure that will house separate men’s and women’s showers and toilets, along with similar facilities for people with disabilities.

Most of the interior space will be filled with cubicles for as many as 60 family members at a time, for an expected total of 240 people annually.

read … Keep Em In Kakaako

Sanders Hawaii Leader: Vote for Green Party Candidate Jill Stein

CB: …We are concerned citizens who are tired of standing quietly in the face of injustice and corruption. I will not be polite or remain silent simply to continue this narrow-minded narrative of the status quo.

When faced with such blatant displays of corruption and oppression, I would plead for more people to stop behaving themselves. Stop allowing your voice to be suppressed because that is what is necessary to fit in. It is our politeness that has led to an epidemic of political ignorance among the American people. Stand up even if you must do so alone.

As far as voting goes, it’s a hard choice. The Democratic Party of Hawaii will ban me for three years if I publicly endorse Jill Stein. However, they can’t stop me from sneaking in and voting for Jill anyway….

SA: There’s no aloha in being silent in the face of wrongdoing

read … The Finger

Hawaii Co Council Tries to Outfox Anti-Styrofoam Obsessives

HTH: …A resolution to create a packaging waste task force received mixed reviews Wednesday at a Hawaii County Council meeting, two months after a proposed ban on polystyrene food containers was tossed in the trash.

Puna Councilman Danny Paleka, a swing vote against the failed ban, proposed forming the group that would include himself, Council Chairman Dru Kanuha, who also voted against the ban, and more than a dozen business, environmental and government representatives.

The resolution, which will be voted on during the council’s Aug. 17 meeting, would direct the task force to find ways to increase the use of environmentally friendly “products and packaging.”

“I wanted to bring the different perspectives together at one table,” said Paleka, who wore a green suit and tie to the meeting.

But some testifiers who supported banning Styrofoam food containers because of environmental concerns remained skeptical of the motivation behind the resolution, which bypassed committee, during an election year. They questioned why it only included two environmental group representatives and left out a key figure in the recent Styrofoam debate — Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille.

“It could become a pro-Styrofoam group headed by pro-Styrofoam council reps,” said Janice Palma-Glennie of the Surfrider Foundation, who asked it to be voted down or tabled.

read … Out Hype the Hypesters?

UH Manoa professor arrested on child porn charges

HNN: The FBI has arrested a University of Hawaii at Manoa professor on suspicion of possessing and transporting child pornography….

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years behind bars. He remains in custody and his first appearance in court is scheduled for Thursday….

read … Child Porn

Honolulu Airport bribery probe nets 3 guilty pleas

HNN: …Ranie Ilagan, Ruben Alonzo and Gay Gatchalian, who are all employed by private security firm Securitas, face up to four years of probation and will pay $2,840 in restitution.

"In this case, the defendants while working as security for Securitas were soliciting bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers in exchange for allowing them to circumvent the rules and regulations," said U.S. deputy Attorney General Albert Cook.

The three were initially indicted for bribery, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The case against a fourth security guard is pending.

The charges stem from an 18-month undercover investigation conducted by the FBI -- and first reported on Hawaii News Now -- where confidential informants video recorded the bribes.

"I made payments, took recording and, I made a lot of payments," said one of the informants.

The drivers said that they also complained about the mistreatment to airport management but nothing changed.

Those that didn't make payments said they were harassed by the guards.

"I have been followed, harassed, mistreated by some of these plainclothes officers," said another driver….

read … Honolulu Airport bribery probe nets 3 guilty pleas

Job Cuts Loom At The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

CB: A decline in national advertising is taking a toll on the largest newspaper in the state.

read … Loom

Kauai Retaliation News: Assistant chief files injunction

KGI: …The department, which was under court order, tried to fire Begley as recently as February, according to court records. As a result, Perry was sanctioned for $1,314.70 by the Fifth Circuit Court after sending a two-page letter informing Begley of his termination date.

Begley alleges that after reporting improper conduct by high-ranking police officers in 2011, he suffered retaliation from within the department.

He filed three separate charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On April 25, 2014, the EEOC rendered its decisions and found that reasonable cause existed to believe that KPD violated the statutes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, as amended in two of the three complaints.

Begley also filed a workers’ compensation mental stress claim. In a response letter to defendants, Begley’s treating physician said he was able to return to work but Begley’s condition was “permanent” unless “major administrative/procedural changes are made at Kauai Police Dept.” ….

KGI: Taxpayers may pay $15K for police commission attorney’s fees

read … Kauai Island of Retaliation

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