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Tuesday, August 16, 2016
August 16, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:37 PM :: 4330 Views

Akina: Protect Hawaiian Entitlements from OHA Federal Recognition Scheme

Cato: Hawaii Ranks 48th in Freedom, Near Top in Cronyism

Hawaii Obamacare waiver could serve as national blueprint

Closed Primary? 9th Circuit Rebuffs Hawaii Democrats (For Now)

Full Text: 9th Circuit Rejects Hawaii Democrats Closed Primary Suit

Djou vs The Machine: We Care

Puana Attorney to Police Commission: Too little, too late

With Election Over, DoT Announces New Lanes to Ease Traffic

Two election problems that need to be fixed

CD1: Republican Candidate Shirlene Ostrov files for special election

Hanalei Boatyard: NFIB, Owners Counsel ask Hawaii Supreme Court to Intervene

Hepatitis Traced to Genki Sushi, Frozen Scallops

Maui hospital plan a ‘blueprint’ for Big Isle, Ige says

SA: Even as Gov. David Ige’s administration struggles to carry out plans to privatize three state-owned Maui hospitals, Ige says he anticipates “similar arrangements” will be put in place to establish public-private partnerships at the Hilo Medical Center and the Kona Community Hospital on the Big Island.

Ige said in an interview there are no immediate plans in the works to privatize the publicly run Hilo and Kona hospitals, but said the state’s efforts on Maui offer a “blueprint for how to proceed forward on other deals.”

State law already authorizes public-private partnerships to allow private operators to run the hospitals, Ige said, although state lawmakers would need to pass specific enabling legislation for any hospital or region that wants to pursue privatization.

For the moment, “we need to focus on making sure that this transaction with the Maui region is successful,” Ige said….

Ige said he has not discussed the matter with any private operators who are interested in managing those facilities, but “to the extent that there are private partners that would be interested, I think that we definitely want to explore that.”

“It’s very difficult for the state to manage health care facilities in this day and age,” Ige said. “There are so many changes that are being driven by the Affordable Care Act. There are so many changes that are being driven just by changes in health care in general, and it has been difficult for the state to manage these facilities.”

A spokeswoman for the West Hawaii Region leadership and board issued a statement Monday saying they “believe that an eventual partnership is the best solution to ongoing budgetary challenges and funding shortfalls,” adding, “This option would create an opportunity to positively effect the changes needed to focus on improving access, quality and coordination of care to our West Hawaii community.”

The West Hawaii board is not currently in discussions with a private operator, but “we would welcome enabling legislation that would make looking at partnerships one of our options,” according to the statement.

A spokeswoman for Hilo Medical said the East Hawaii network has been in discussions with Adventist Health, which operates Castle Medical Center on Oahu, but said there are “no new developments” in those discussions.

“In East Hawaii, we continue to believe that we need choice when it comes to determining the best means for delivering health care to our community,” said a statement from Hilo Medical.

Big Q 66% – YES: Is it a good idea to privatize state hospitals in Hilo and Kona, similar to the state’s efforts on Maui?

read … Blueprint

Democrats Urged to Fight for Patronage Positions at Honolulu Hale

HNN: …Former Congressman Charles Djou's mayoral campaign offers Hawaii Republicans their best chance in decades of capturing the top office in Honolulu Hale.

And even though it's a nonpartisan race and Djou has repeated said his campaign isn't about partisan politics, political analysts say that a Djou victory could re-invigorate the Hawaii GOP, which has fallen on tough times.

"There's definitely patronage positions in City Hall that can turn into jobs that you can give to Republicans. It's a rule of politics, you give the boys jobs," said political analyst Dan Boylan.

The person who wins the mayors race will control more than 100 patronage jobs and many of those people could wind up working not just for the mayor but for other political candidates.

"That gives him a strength in either building up a personal political machine or to buoy up the Republicans. But again I repeat that needs a lot of buoying up," said Boylan.

CB: Super PAC Says It’s Staying Out Of the Mayor’s Race

read … Caldwell Needs to Give the Boys Jobs

Power Mad Democrats Aim to Grab Last Senate Seat

KITV: He's been in the State Senate for 20 years and now Senator Sam Slom could be in for the toughest race in his political career.  His opponent Stanley Chang is considered by some in the political arena to be a master campaigner.

"I've always had competition and I welcome competition, I think that's the way it should be," Sen. Sam Slom.

Republican Sam Slom has always taken on all challengers but this one could be the toughest.  He's protecting his job against Stanley Chang, a democrat who has build his career around face-to-face campaigning.

"I've knocked on about ten thousand doors at this point and I want to meet every single voter in this district and listen to what the concerns are," says Stanley Chang.

While the 74-year-old Slom has had some health scares in the past, doctors have given him a clean bill of health and he says he will also be on the streets campaigning as much as possible...

read … Power Mad

Hawaii Democrats May Sue Because Somebody Had the Audacity to Defeat ONE of their Incumbents Saturday

KITV:  Some think Gates’ HD44 Waianae win is under a cloud because in 2014 he previously ran as a Green Party candidate.

Under Democratic party internal rules, he would be prevented from running on their ticket for three years.  But, no one filed an objection with the elections office by the June deadline to prevent his name from appearing on the primary ballot….  (Asleep at the switch and now they want a re-do????)

party leaders now find themselves in a quandary about Gate's win, and will be meeting to discuss the missteps and what happens now.

"The executive board will sit down soon to see how to address it and see what we can do. It might be that you can’t do anything. It could be, but I don't want to speculate, or go in to the details. We want to make sure we process this correctly, said Democrat Party Treasurer Tambry Young…. (gay mafia at work here)

when reached late Monday afternoon Rep. Jordan (the ONLY incumbent defeated on Saturday) said she is considering a legal challenge. She is talking with attorneys, but has not yet made a final decision….

(Did Jo Jordan say anything last Spring?  After being asleep at the switch she wants a re-do, too!  Lets just throw out any election result that does not return the incumbent to office.)

read … Audacity of the gay mafia

Chief Kealoha Conspiracy Theory may Backfire

CB: In essence, they’re looking to try their case in public, and the allegations that they framed her uncle for stealing their mailbox have certainly gotten plenty of public attention.

The police chief’s status is a hot topic in the mayor’s race. Challenger Charles Djou has said Kealoha should step aside until the investigation is complete and attacked Mayor Kirk Caldwell for his hands-off approach.

Meanwhile, voters will be asked in November if they want to make it easier for the Honolulu Police Commission to fire the chief.

And the newest member of the Honolulu Police Commission, Loretta Sheehan, said it should be asking questions about the allegations against the chief even as the federal investigation unfolds.

But it is the Kealohas’ seeming attempt to win the battle of public perception that has the legal community buzzing. One observer said the campaign could easily backfire….

Katherine Kealoha says she isn’t one for conspiracy theories. As a Honolulu prosecutor, she’s charged with distinguishing fact from fiction when taking on criminals.

Conspiracies are complicated, she said, and usually involve a lot of people working in concert to achieve a nefarious goal. Yet when she discusses the ongoing federal corruption probe, she admits she sounds like a conspiracist.

In a recent interview with Civil Beat, she blamed everyone from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to the former head of the Honolulu Ethics Commission for her predicament. Even the news media has played a role, she said, by proliferating what she described as false information based on leaked documents and anonymous sources.

“Some people are trying to characterize it like we’re saying that this is a big conspiracy,” she said. “I’m absolutely not saying that. It’s not a big conspiracy. But I think it’s multiple groups of people who pretty much have the same goal and that goal is to see us removed from our positions.”….

read … Kealoha for Caldwell

Motions to dismiss filed in Kenoi theft case

HTH: A lawyer for Mayor Billy Kenoi has filed a number of pretrial motions in Kenoi’s felony theft case, most seeking to dismiss the indictment or specific charges contained in the indictment.

According to the court records, Honolulu attorney Todd Eddins filed three motions Aug. 8 to dismiss the indictment returned March 23 against the mayor, as well as a motion seeking dismissal of the two felony theft charges.

Kenoi also is facing two misdemeanor theft charges, plus three counts of tampering with a government record and a single count of making a false statement under oath, all misdemeanors.

The charges stem from a yearlong investigation by the state attorney general’s office into the mayor’s misuse of his county credit card, also known as a pCard. The investigation started after Big Island newspapers reported Kenoi used his pCard to pay an $892 tab at Club Evergreen, a Honolulu hostess bar.

Kenoi is scheduled for trial Oct. 10 in Hilo before Honolulu Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario. All Big Island judges who were on the bench when the mayor was indicted recused themselves from hearing the case….

Kenoi is nearly finished serving two four-year terms as mayor, the legal limit for consecutive terms as the county’s chief executive.

He will be succeeded in December by former Mayor Harry Kim, who took 51.6 percent of the votes in a 13-candidate primary election Saturday night to win the office outright.

(No point in protecting Wally Lau any more.)

read … Motions to dismiss filed in Kenoi theft case

Will Ethics Commission Follow its own Rules?

SA: …Gluck said the state Ethics Commission plans to hold a public hearing to talk about the philosophy behind the Ethics Code and hear proposed improvements to it.

That sounds like a promising idea. It’s one that the city Ethics Commission should replicate. One of the fights over Honolulu Hale ethics concerned Totto’s communications with the media — and, thus, the public awareness of what’s going on.

That commission had sought to constrain what the director could say publicly about its decisions. The panel backed off that stance. Still, it serves as a cautionary tale. Better communications — and more openness with the public, not less — should be the watchwords now….

read … Open ethics codes to public comments

Hawaiian Electric Wins $80M Rate Hike—Spins it as Money Saver!

SA: …Hawaii Electric Co. customers could see a $1.18 bump on their monthly electrical bills, as state regulators approved a nearly $80 million project for the utility to upgrade its business management software.

In an order made public Friday, the state Public Utilities Commission approved HECO’s request to use up to $77.62 million on a project to upgrade business management tools over a 12-year period.

Peter Rosegg, HECO spokesman, said customers would not see an impact on their bills until 2019….

“The new system and the additional automation will provide guaranteed benefits of more than $240 million to customers over 12 years, (And so where’s the rate cut?) in the form of savings from the operational efficiencies and avoided capital expenditures,” Rosegg said. “Over the life of the project, these benefits will more than cover the estimated $78 million cost.”  (But we’re hiking your rates anyway.)

Rosegg said all areas of the utility’s operation would become more efficient with new software, from the utility’s deployment of its smart grid to the integration of renewable energy resources to response to outages.

The PUC said the upgrade is necessary because HECO’s existing Ellipse system — the system the utility uses to calculate, record and pay taxes; manage payroll; produce financial statements; and process work orders — is over 16 years old, “technically obsolete” and could possibly fail.

read … Rate Hike

Rail: HECO Wants to Soak Taxpayers for ‘Double Redundant System’

KHON: …HECO confirms claims it will need to put a big substation near the rail operation center, and it will take a while to get it there. HECO has told HART it first needs Public Utilities Commission approval, and estimates 12 to 18 months for that before even designing it.

“You’re talking 18 months, then you’re talking another six months to a year maybe to build, but it depends on who is handling the contract and the timeframe they’re in can dictate the true deadline they need to meet,” said Damien Kim, business manager of the Hawaii Electricians IBEW Local Union 1186 and also vice chair of the HART board of directors. “That’s not fully addressed in all these letters. I’m sure that has to be worked out and eventually come out hopefully sooner than later.”

That’s because the substation is key to an interim opening of the first 10 miles targeted for 2019, and it will be located near the heart of the project, close to the maintenance and storage facility.

“Some of the stations will have power for that facility, but basically this is to run the track system itself,” Kim said. “You can’t just turn it on partially. The substation has to be completed to run a portion of that track.”

In a recent letter to rail authority staff, HECO says the substation will be “generally” the utility’s cost. While a price tag isn’t cited, in the past it has been estimated in the multimillions.

Oahu taxpayers who are funding most of rail are also HECO ratepayers.

“Whether it be the taxpayer from the G.E. tax standpoint or whether it’ll be Hawaiian Electric with maybe a rate increase or maybe just coming out of some funds that could have went to something else, I’m not too sure,” Kim said.

It’s all far from free to the city though. HECO says HART has to get about 8,000 square feet of land for the substation at the city’s cost. HART has to pay for the distribution system’s installation, operation and maintenance, and HART will have to foot the bill for anything beyond “standard” with HECO recommending a fully redundant backup service at HART’s cost.

HART wrote back to HECO, saying it would like more details on going beyond standard, and wants to know what upgrades HECO is doing about all its track power sites for the length of the project.

“There are still a lot of questions in there. It doesn’t lock down cost. It gives a rough timeframe, but again everything’s up in the air,” Kim said. “What is the cost to it? Because we need to figure this in our recovery plan as well.” ….

read … PUC review could delay key rail power source

Slow #1 -- Government Procurement: HPD Buying Only 80 Tasers Per Year—Needs 500 More

HNN:  …The Honolulu Police Department is trying to equip all patrol officers with Tasers. At about $2,000 a piece, it's a long-term goal. In the last decade,HPD has been able to purchase 800, still 500 short. 

"The police like everybody else wants to use the least violent means necessary of dealing with somebody," says mental health victims advocate Marya Grambs.

Grambs cites a recent case involving a Maui teenager, who was suffering from mental illness. The teen apparently tried to commit suicide by cop, pointing a finger like a gun at several Maui police officers outside the station.

One officer, realizing it wasn't a real gun, used his Taser to get the teen to the ground. Grambs says that split second decision by the officer saved the teen's life. 

Grambs hopes HPD can reach its goal of providing every patrol officer with a Taser sooner rather than later.

The department budgets $200,000 every year to purchase new devices and replace any damaged ones. The Honolulu Police Community Foundation, a non-profit that depends on donations from citizens, supplements that with another $25,000…. 

read … Decade

Slow #2 -- 900,000 Gallon Sewage Spill from Animal Quarantine Station--While Waiting for Government Contracting

“At a minimum, based on observations, it has been going on for two to three weeks,” said Stuart Yamada from the DOH’s Clean Water Branch.

He says workers from the U.S. Geological Survey were at Halawa Stream when they noticed the problem.

“They noticed a stink sewage-like odor,” Yamada said. “They actually identified the pipe that it was coming from.”

But Yamada says the source was not identified until Friday, and that’s when the state and city were notified. As far as the amount, Yamada estimates thousands of gallons.

“The observation was approximately 30 gallons per minute, so not exactly a small flow. I don’t believe it’s continuous, but still there’s no telling how often this was going on,” Yamada said.

(Do the Math: 30 gal x 60 min x 24 hours x 21 days = 907,200 gallons and counting)

We went to the Animal Quarantine Station to get some answers. Department of Agriculture chairman Scott Enright says because of electrical problems, the sewage pumps were not working properly.

“There was an overflow from the storage,” he said.

“If it was working properly, where would it go?” KHON2 asked.

“It goes into a force main and into the county’s facilities,” Enright said.

We looked into state procurement records and learned that the state had asked for money back in June to get the electrical system fixed, and feared that a sewage spill could occur.

Enright says utility lines were knocked down a few weeks ago, which made the situation worse.

“We had a contractor who was actively working on it and thought the system was going to hold until we got the electrical contractor done,” he said.

read … Million Gallons

Slow #3 -- After 64 Years Maui Gets Another Hospital

HNN: …The facilities will include a 25-bed hospital with a 24-hour emergency room, a nursing facility and assisted living quarters. Long-term plans also include a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.

“The facility will totally change the equation for health care on the west side,” said Lahaina resident Bob Pure. “This new hospital will supplement and enhance the excellent urgent care facilities we already have and bring available health care to a new and higher level.”

The facility will meet the health and safety needs of over 65,000 people who live, work, or visit West Maui. It takes 15-60 minutes to drive to the nearest hospital depending on traffic.

“For residents and visitors, access to immediate critical care in Lahaina could make the difference between life and death – especially for victims of stroke, heart attack, or trauma,” said Brian Hoyle, President of Newport Hospital Corporation, developer of the project.

It will be the first hospital built on the island since 1952.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2018 at an estimated cost of $70 million.

read … 64 Years

Slow #4 -- Health Department Hiring — Will The Mosquitoes Wait?

CB: The battle against mosquito-borne illnesses took on a sense of urgency when 264 Big Island residents were infected with dengue fever during a half-year outbreak that wasn’t quelled until last April.

And the threat of the Zika virus that can be carried by some of the same mosquitoes has done nothing to diminish ongoing concerns.

But 20 positions funded by the Legislature last spring to better track, trap and kill mosquitoes have yet to be filled — or even advertised….

Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of environmental services, told lawmakers during a hearing last week that none of those positions had been filled because of administrative issues such as … uh … old … uh … job descriptions that need … uh … revision or something ….

read … Zika Coming

Quick Action! ACLU Nuisance Suit Scores $2300 cash payout for All Money-Grubbing Honolulu Homeless—Millions to be Distributed

CB: Under the terms of the settlement, which incorporates the January agreement, the city would pay damages of $48,500 to the original 15 plaintiffs and six additional people who later joined the case.  ($48,500 /21 = $2309.52 each)

The settlement also allows “all homeless or formerly homeless individuals whose property was seized and destroyed by City and County of Honolulu officials” to join the lawsuit as “class members,” but sets aside no funds for their damages.  (Don’t worry.  Nobody will file false claims on this…LOL!)

The city would be responsible for notifying potential additional plaintiffs by taking the following steps at its expense:

Publishing a notice of the settlement in the pages of the Honolulu Star Advertiser twice — once on a weekday and again on a Saturday or Sunday;

Posting the settlement notice on the city’s website along with the advance notices of planned sweeps;

Distributing 20 copies of the settlement notice to homeless service providers with a request to post them in “conspicuous places” for 30 days;

Posting the settlement notice for 30 days at any locations where any personal items are confiscated during the sweeps;

Providing the settlement notice to any individuals whose personal items are confiscated during the sweeps.

(Translation: Activists will tell homeless how to claim $2300 each from the City.  Thousands will score.  The total price will be in the millions.  Meth sales will go thru the roof.  Dozens will die of overdose.)

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang endorsed the settlement Monday, concluding that it offers “real and tangible injunctive benefits” to the class members.  (Cash to buy drugs—and another obstacle to efforts to force the homeless to accept shelter.)

read … This is going to get expensive

Years Later, Molokai Boy raised by Potheads Recovers

HM: When a little boy’s  first household chores include watering the marijuana plants, perhaps it’s difficult to dream big, to imagine life with a family and a career. When “family” means three bedrooms, 23 people, drug scores, alcohol addiction, and dysfunction, it’s hard to know there’s another way. No one understands that better than Brent Nakihei, a certified substance abuse counselor for Hale Hookupa at Moloka‘i Intermediate and High School.

Brent grew up in that world, eventually landing in the Hālawa Correctional Facility on O‘ahu. It was there, amidst the ruins of drug addiction and dysfunction, that Brent committed to turn things around….

read … Marijuana

Anti-GMO Losers: Every Candidate Trained by Hooser Defeated

KE: …what do the returns tell us about Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser and the food/farm “revolution” rhapsodized by his nonprofit HAPA?

Well, turns out they didn't catch the wave of change so much as a snapping shorebreak that hammered their candidates head first into the sand — with no lifeguard in sight.

Yes, every candidate trained by or affiliated with HAPA went down in defeat:

In the Senate 13th, Karl Rhoads beat HAPA’s Kim Coco Iwamoto 42-30. In the House 3rd, Ag Committee chair Clift Tsuji beat Kuleana’s Jonathan Wong 73-18. In the House 12th, Kyle Yamashita beat Kuleana’s Tiare Lawrence 51-44. In the House 13th, Lynn DeCoite beat Kuleana’s Alex Haller 56-36. In the House 14th, Nadine Nakamura defeated Kuleana’s Fern Rosenstiel 59-33. In the House 28th, John Mizuno beat HAPA’s Ikaika Hussey 68-27. In the House 48th, Ken Ito beat Kuleana’s Patrick Shea 68-25.

As for Hooser himself, he's clearly toxic. Perhaps even the most despised sitting politician in recent memory on Kauai.

Heck, he garnered less than half the votes of the top-runner for Council, and his support is pretty much concentrated in the predominantly white newcomer communities of Hanalei and Kilauea. When it comes to Hooser, the issue of race simply can't be ignored.

Hooser is obviously abhorred in central Kauai, where he ran 11th — behind political newcomers Norma Doctor Sparks and Juno Apalla — in Lihue, Puhi and Hanamaulu. Folks don't like him much in Hanapepe and Kekaha either, where he scored in the bottom three, or Waimea, where he was ninth.

Which leads to the question: Why in the world should Hooser be meddling in westside agriculture when the folks who live there clearly do not like or share his views?….

read … Musings: Wipe-Out

Prominent Maui Anti-GMO Activist in Court on Child Molestation Charges

HTH: The mother of an alleged sexual assault victim described the man charged in the case as “a predator” who “has been taken off the street because of the courageous actions of four young women.”

Fifty-seven-year-old Michael Martin Zelko, a prominent organic farmer (and anti-GMO activist) who now lives in Lahaina, Maui, pleaded not guilty Monday to 13 felony sex assault charges stemming from the alleged abuse of the woman’s daughter and three other women who were all minors 14 or younger when the offenses allegedly occurred….

Deputy Prosecutor Kimberly Angay asked the judge to maintain Zelko’s bail.

“In this case, the defendant’s being charged with 13 Class A felonies involving four victims in a time span of over a decade,” Angay said….

After the hearing, the woman, whom the Tribune-Herald is not identifying to protect the identity of her daughter, praised the four young women for coming forward.

“They were willing to put their lives … on hold so they could see justice done,” the mother said. “It’s been devastating to our family for years.”

read … Years of Devastation

Alleged pimp held in beating is first charged under new law

SA: …the law allows authorities to treat sex workers as victims and not as criminals who commit prostitution.

He said defining a person as a sex trafficking victim “automatically triggers a whole battery of services,” such as housing, medical and psychological care for the victim. By giving victims a safe place, they will more likely talk to authorities about what happened to them, he said.

Previously, prostitutes were asked to testify against their pimps to avoid prosecution as a prostitute, he said.

“In the past it was a roll of the dice whether they would receive any services at all,” he said. He said there are about 150 high-risk sex trafficking establishments in Hawaii.

In addition, it broadens the definition of a sex trafficking victim to include someone coerced to “remain” in prostitution and makes it easier for authorities to prosecute offenses against minors.

Furthermore, the law allows investigators to gather evidence in sex trafficking cases by using wiretaps and intercepting electronic communications.

Keyes allegedly beat his victim in his apartment Aug. 7 for about an hour because she wanted out of prostitution, causing her to sustain a broken jaw, internal bleeding and a lacerated spleen, sources said…

read … Pimp

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