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Saturday, August 6, 2016
August 6, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:18 PM :: 5370 Views

This Day in History: Truman Announces Hiroshima Bombing

Occupational Licensing: Hawaii Most Burdensome Requirements in USA

UH Law Prof: White Milk is Racist Food Oppression

Hawaii Seed Crop Worth $151M—Up 7%

Maui’s long waiting list for water

9th Circuit Dismisses Challenge to Hawaii Gay Marriage Law

Republican Candidate for Ewa’s Senate Seat Demands Change

Feds to Hit Corrupt Hawaii Democratic Party with ‘Biggest Fine Ever’

SA: …State Democrats are bracing for what is expected to be the largest fine ever imposed on the Hawaii party by the Federal Elections Commission for a series of alleged violations of federal campaign regulations during the 2012 election cycle.

Party officials declined to discuss details of the case because it is ongoing, but a source familiar with the FEC investigation said the alleged violations center on technical bookkeeping and money-handling errors (maneuvers) as the party supported Democratic candidates during its coordinated campaign in 2012.

The Hawaii Democrats’ coordinated campaigns are launched during most election cycles to raise and pool money (from the usual special interests), which is then distributed to support party candidates in targeted races (to maintain the one-party system).

Federal fines in the ongoing case are expected to amount to tens of thousands of dollars, and one observer said the total might reach as high as the “low six figures.”

Newly elected Hawaii party Chairman Tim Vandeveer said party officials have been aware for “quite some time” that a large fine was pending, (translation: We’ve been keepin this secret, but now we are doing a pre-release so you won’t react much when the news hits.) and had been given a “ballpark figure” of how much the fine is likely to be. The FEC has fined the party for missteps (conscious violations) in the past, but “not anything nearly this size,” he said….

The Hawaii party has been fined in the past for failing to comply with federal requirements, including a $22,000 fine that was imposed for errors (violations) in the 2002 election cycle.

Party leadership was also reportedly slow to respond to FEC inquiries about problems in the 2012 cycle, and that history could be prompting federal authorities to contemplate larger fines for the alleged violations, according to officials familiar with the FEC inquiry.

Dante Carpenter, who was party chairman in 2012, did not respond to a request for comment about the case.  (Lets all blame Dante.  He’s finished anyway.)

FEC documents show the agency has fined the party repeatedly over lapses in campaign funding and reporting….

read … Isle Dems face big fine linked to 2012 election

Sewage Spill Bringing Stiff Fine: State Orders Caldwell to Change Ways

KHON: The city is facing a stiff fine and must make big changes in Honolulu’s sewer system and wastewater procedures nearly a year after hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw waste spilled into streets, streams and oceans after a storm….

The city has always maintained it did everything it could, citing unpredictable storm weather.

Now, Always Investigating has learned there’s a looming health department enforcement action that indicates more could have been done and requires changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The state says it’s wrapped up its investigation, and has lined up consequences that include more than just fines. They want changes in how the city staffs and manages procedures, and how it maintains infrastructure….

The state Department of Health revealed it’s wrapped up a major enforcement action against the city.

“Because of the seriousness of the violation, the magnitude of the violation, it did take longer than normal,” said Keith Kawaoka, Department of Health deputy director of Environmental Health Administration. “We reached an agreement at least on a technical basis probably a couple months ago.” …

Until the city council gets and votes on it, neither the state or city departments will disclose the exact terms nor the details of alleged violations found, but the state did say fines can be $25,000 per day per event, and they consider this a several-day, multi-incident event.

There will also be penalties if prescribed fixes are late or not done. They say the AOC will detail corrective actions to be expedited….

Trevor Ozawa, the councilman for the area affected by the 2015 spill, said, “It’s just confirmation of what we have suspected all along, was that there was a lack of oversight, there was a lack of leadership that day, and there were definite missteps that were preventable on that day.”

Ozawa backed a resolution after the event asking the administration to keep the council posted on outcomes from it….

read … Caldwell Incompetence

Star-Adv: Police Commission Needs to Act on Kealoha

SA: The Honolulu Police Commission’s hands-off approach regarding the federal investigation of Police Chief Louis Kealoha apparently doesn’t sit well with the panel’s newest member — and the public should support her stance.

Perhaps the addition of newly-appointed member Loretta Sheehan might influence the commission to rethink its stance on Kealoha — who was given a glowing review even as a federal probe involving him and his wife is being conducted.

There needs to be some serious discussion on whether the chief can lead the department while the cloud of a serious investigation looms overhead….

At the very least, Sheehan said, the police commission should be having a public conversation about controversies involving the chief — and involving police officers who break the law — and we agree.

Regarding the chief, waiting to have those discussions until after a conclusion is made in the federal case would be reactive rather than proactive, and unacceptable.

The commission should at least be taking public comment on whether the federal investigation negatively affects the department and the chief’s ability to perform his job without major distraction.

A more forceful police commission is needed, one that is not afraid to publicly discuss issues that affect police morale, public confidence and public safety.

read … New police commissioner has right idea

Telescope: Next Hearing August 12

HTH: …Amano dismissed several of those related motions and others seeking time extensions. Challenges to her selection as hearings officer would have to be handled by BLNR, she said.

With many of those issues set aside, Amano intends to devote much of the Aug. 12 hearing to motions filed by Richard Wurdeman, attorney for the original six contested case petitioners.

His motions include striking TMT’s land use permit application and dismissing legal counsel for the state.

They weren’t handled during Friday’s hearing because Wurdeman said he wasn’t served documents submitted by the state in response.

He argues TMT’s application is flawed because the 2010 document is signed by TMT Observatory Corp., not TMT International Observatory, which is the observatory’s new entity.

Wurdeman also says the state’s legal counsel is not impartial and has taken on advocacy roles.

A separate motion from Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities Inc., a pro-TMT Hawaiian group, to set the issues to be addressed in the contested case also will be heard during the next meeting.

Mehana Kihoi, who protested against TMT on the mountain last year, discussed a motion to remove PUEO from the contested case. She said their interests are already covered by TMT and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the permit applicant, and that they can’t prove an injury.

Amano stood by her decision to let the group participate….

read … August 12

Dozens pack the Hilo YMCA for TMT hearing

KITV: A pre-conference hearing was held in Hilo on Friday to discuss multiple motions filed in the contested case hearing.

TMT officials say retired judge Riki May Amano denied 15 motions, which varied from political to procedural questions. TMT officials also say Amano scheduled a site visit for next month….

residents showed their support for the telescope. They lined around Kanoelehua Avenue near the Prince Kuhio Plaza.

Several had their own personal reasons for supporting the project.

“I have children and grandchildren, and my ten-year-old granddaughter Mariana who’s waved with me a couple times out here – she’s aspiring to be an astronomer when she grows up,” said Mike Kaleikini, Hilo resident.

“Well, part of it I think is the future of our kids, and my dad also a long time ago he paved part of the road to the summit and for him it was definitely a thing of pride, and it wasn’t something he felt was desecrating, and I just look at it as, you know, a place where both science and culture can meet,” said Kea Kapahua, Hilo resident.

Another woman said her three sons wanted to be engineers, which is her reason for supporting the project.

Amano is still shooting for October to begin the actual contested case hearing….

SA: Issue of state’s validity rejected in TMT hearing

read … Dozens pack the Hilo YMCA for TMT hearing

Zika Fears Drive Tourists to Choose Hawaii

WSJ: Aloha State expects pace to continue on additional flights, growing Zika fears on mainland….  (And when Zika arrives here, this will all be reversed….)

Meanwhile:  The FDA just greenlit releasing mutant Zika-killing mosquitoes in Florida

read … Zika Records

Scary News: Farrington HS to be Model for DoE Maintenance Programs

HNN: …Dann Carlson, DOE facilities assistant Superintendent, said the information will help the department prioritize other campus modernization projects similar to what's being done at Farrington.

"When you have a campus that's as old as this, made out of concrete, we've got to use some of the brick and mortar that's already there, but then figure out ways so we can creatively convert that space into a more modern classroom," he said.

Meanwhile, securing funds to pay for improvement is an ongoing challenge.

"Public-private partnerships are definitely something we're looking at. I think it's the wave of the future," Carlson said.

The DOE has $134 million this year for school repair and maintenance. But there is at least $279 million in backlogged repairs across the state's public school campuses, reinforcing the need to tap into outside funding streams for school upgrades.

One recent success: The U.S> Department of Defense covered 80 percent of costs to modernize public schools on some military bases.

"On those schools we're talking projects upward of $90 million," Carlson said.

At Farrington, several big projects are coming to an end.

The $19 million football stadium's nearly finished. It cost $11 million to improve the auditorium damaged by a roof collapse. Meanwhile, plans for the swimming pool that has been closed since the 1990s are on the drawing board.

"That's where the location of our new gym and PE facilities will be," Oyama said.

As the DOE works to modernize more campuses, Farrington High School will be the model. …

read … Model

Papahanaumokuakea: Environmentalists excuse to cripple Navy operations

KGI: …“I’m against the expansion of the reserve because I don’t want environmentalists to have an excuse to cripple Navy operations,” Robinson said in the meeting….

Purdy did not offer comments on Chinese and Russian activity in the Pacific, but he did say that the training operations at PMRF ensure that military personnel are ready to defend the nation if the need arises.

“The key to ensuring national security, maintaining freedom of the seas, and avoiding tragic loss of life is to ensure that sailors receive realistic training that fully prepares them to be prepared to fight, and that the equipment they rely on is thoroughly tested prior to use,” Purdy said….

MN: Kahoʻolawe Trolling—Failure to Register May Result in Civil, Criminal Penalties

read … Ni’ihau owner warns against marine plan

Travel websites ordered to pay Hawaii taxes on car rentals

KHON: …Friday’s ruling by state circuit judge Gary W.B. Chang applies to websites including Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire.

The state issued tax assessments of general excise taxes, interest, and penalties to the companies for failing to file tax returns and pay general excise taxes for tax years 2000 through 2012.

The final amount to be collected by the state has yet to be determined, but is expected to be in the millions of dollars.

Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court concluded online travel companies must pay general excise tax on the sale of hotel rooms in Hawaii….

It also ruled that under a special provision in Hawaii’s general excise tax law for tourism-related services, these companies owe general excise taxes on their net receipts from car rental transactions that were included in a travel or tour package sold to consumers.

read … Taxes

Act 202: $3M Per Year State Giveaway to Biofuel Producers

NLR: Hawaii- L. 2016, S2652 (Act 202), applicable to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2016, establishes a five-year renewable fuels production tax credit for each taxpayer subject to Hawaii income taxes that is producing renewable fuels. The credit will be applied to the taxpayer's net income tax liability for the taxable year in which the credit is properly claimed. The annual dollar amount of the credit during the five-year credit period will equal 20¢ per seventy-six thousand British thermal units (about a half-gallon of diesel) of renewable fuels using the lower heating value sold for distribution in Hawaii, provided the taxpayer's production of renewable fuels is not less than fifteen billion British thermal units of renewable fuels per year. The credit is capped at $3 million per taxpayer per taxable year.  Excess credit may be carried forward until exhausted. The renewable fuels production tax credit sunsets December 31, 2021. The bill also repeals the ethanol facility tax credit.

read … Corporate Welfare

Securitas officers plead guilty to theft at Honolulu airport

KHON: Three Securitas officers at Honolulu International Airport pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Aug. 3, to felony theft.

They were originally indicted for bribery after a months-long undercover investigation by the FBI.

Authorities alleged the officers solicited and accepted more than $3,000 from taxi and shuttle drivers at the airport.

After receiving the bribes, officials said some of the drivers were allowed to circumvent the rules….

read … Theft

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