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Wednesday, January 10, 2018
January 10, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:08 PM :: 4215 Views

OHA Trustees to Vote on Tribal Recognition Act

Report: 48% of Hawaii Households Can't Afford Basics

Slammed by Auditor, State Energy Office Hides from Media on 10th Anniversary of Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

You’ve Got Fail: Investigation into Online Gun Sales Backfires on Brian Schatz

Hawaii Drivers License Design Change

Hawaii: Happiest Workers in America?

Hanabusa Should Follow Her Own Advice And Resign

CB: She said Attorney General Doug Chin should quit to run for Congress, so why does she intend to keep her D.C. post while running for governor?

The attorney general and Gov. David Ige decided that it is in the “best interests” of Hawaii to step aside come March. Chin also wants to lend his full attention to his race.

Still, Hanabusa, the U.S. representative who insisted that there were potential conflicts of interest for a sitting AG to run for Congress, said that’s no problem for her and she doesn’t plan to resign to campaign to replace Ige….

Hanabusa made the formal announcement of her gubernatorial campaign Monday, which was actually the beginning of a work week on the Hill.

Hanabusa was absent, although U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard managed to be there for roll callalong with 356 other members (including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her No. 2, Steny Hoyer).

On Tuesday, while Hanabusa tweeted about a meeting she had on Kauai to discuss Hawaii’s future, more than 400 of her House colleagues (including Gabbard) passed the Post-Caliphate Threat Assessment Act of 2017, the Screening and Vetting Passenger Exchange Act and legislation supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression.

We recognize that Hanabusa, as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House, may have little sway when it comes to legislation.

But she also sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which had a hearing on China scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday EST in the Rayburn House Office Building. Another hearing is set for Wednesday, this one a Department of Defense update.

A spokesman for her campaign said she won’t go back to D.C. until next week….

Unlike Chin, who has mastered the art of promotional press releases during his tenure as AG but will have to give that up when he leaves office, Hanabusa would continue to benefit from her congressional office as she campaigns for governor.

That would likely mean a lot of press releases from her office in D.C. even as she campaigns in the islands.

Hanabusa needs to follow the example of Neil Abercrombie, who left the very same seat in Congress after 20 years to run for governor. That set up a special election in May 2010 to fill out the remainder of his term.

Hawaii voters deserve nothing short of full and active representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Not a part-time congresswoman who is spending considerable time and energy campaigning for Hawaii’s most important job…. 

Related:

read … Resign

Hawaii Requests Waiver: Will Medicaid Pay to House Homeless? 

WHT: …The other most talked about solution involves reclassifying homelessness as a medical condition and using Medicaid to provide housing, which many believe would cut taxpayer costs of medical and housing assistance to the homeless.

“Individuals can’t get healthy or maintain their health without access to permanent housing,” said Dr. Judy Mohr Peterson, director of Hawaii Med-QUEST. ” (And they’re) unable to obtain and retain their housing without having health needs addressed.”

Peterson said Hawaii submitted an amendment application, called the 1115 waiver amendment, to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in August. The amendment would allow for Hawaii to provide tenancy supports to the chronically homeless, as well as those in unstable living situations if they were also afflicted with mental health or substance abuse conditions.

Tenancy supports include services like housing, 24-hour crisis support and job training.

Peterson said CMS put the proposal out for public comment, which was followed by silence. She reached out again twice this winter, eventually speaking to CMS leadership who told her they had concerns about the scope of the population included in her definitions and that the program wasn’t related enough to the provision of long-term care.

She said the state is trying to address those concerns and most recently reached out to CMS leadership on Monday.

An expanded ability to utilize Medicaid funds would help some hospitals, particularly on Oahu. In 2016, the cost of unnecessary emergency room visits to The Queen’s Medical Center by homeless individuals reached nearly $100 million, roughly $90 million of which came from the Medicaid budget…..

read … Medicaid

Mizuno: Let the Homeless Take Over Kakaako Makai

HNN: …State Rep. John Mizuno, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said a number of measures are being introduced to set up these zones, which provide temporary shelter, security, food, restrooms and access to social services.

Mizuno said money like the $5 million that Gov. David Ige's administration is requesting for law enforcement to sweep the homeless out of the state's parks could be put to that use….

Marc Alexander, of the city's Housing Office, said that Seattle, which has had a safe zone program for years, saw it's homeless census increased 9 percent recently. He added that the monthly costs for the Big Island safe zone is about $800 per person, which is too high.

Alexander said programs like the state's family assessment center and the city's Hale Mauliola shelter are more effecting in getting people off the street permanently.

"We know safe zones are very costly, they're ineffective. They do not move people into permanent housing," Alexander said….

read … More Tent City Idiocy

DoH Uses Trump as Bogeyman in This Year’s Demand for Money

CB: Here’s a breakdown of $6.2 million in Trump program cuts that the Health Department has identified (alleged):

  • 16.5 percent cut ($803,000) for public health emergency preparedness from cuts through CDC
  • 48 percent cut ($1.9 million) to immunization grants
  • 11 percent cut ($224,000) for maternal and child health block grant
  • 100 percent cut ($180,000) to state rural health offices 
  • 100 percent cut ($693,000) to universal newborn hearing screening 
  • 29 percent cut ($261,000) in air pollution control
  • 28 percent cut ($212,000) in hazardous waste management program
  • 100 percent cut ($1.2 million) in nonpoint source management program
  • 29 percent cut ($598,000) in water pollution control
  • 29 percent cut ($136,000) in public water system supervision program

Related: State tax collections forecast to rise Thanks to Republican Tax Cuts

read … Funding for Perfect Knowledge of the Future

Conspiracy Charges Up The Ante For Kealohas

ILind: …The former police chief and his prosecutor wife could be punished for crimes that were committed by other defendants….

A pair of little-noticed procedural motions filed in court in early December by new attorneys assigned to defend the Kealohas highlight the outsized impact of the conspiracy count included among the other charges they face.

Nearly identical legal motions were filed by Rustam Barbee on behalf of Louis Kealoha, and Cynthia Kagiwada, representing Katherine Kealoha….

Their legal motions asked that prosecutors be required to provide a “bill of particulars” disclosing additional details about several pending charges.

Three of the charges, referred to as Counts 5-7, allege the Kealohas  (and others) obstructed an official proceeding and made false statements to a federal officer. But the grand jury indictment spelling out the basis for these charges refers only to false statements made by Minh-Hung Nguyen, one of four HPD co-defendants. At the time, Nguyen was married to Katherine Kealoha’s niece. No actions by either Kealoha related to any of these charges were identified.

Both attorneys argued they have a right to know exactly what their clients were believed to have done relative to these particular charges, since nothing of the sort was disclosed in the indictment….

read … Conspiracy

Coco Palms Grifters Object to Presence of Reality in Courtroom

KGI: …Prior to the proceedings, Noa Mau-Espirito addressed District Court Judge Michael Soong with a complaint about an article written by Allan Parachini and published in The Garden Island newspaper Tuesday, stating a title search apparently proved he and co-defendant Kamu Hepa did not have a legal claim on the land.

He asked that Parachini be removed from the courtroom. The judge said Parachini had rights to be there and he could stay.

“This is ridiculing me for the ownership thing, bringing up the title search when I thought was made clear is not about ownership,” Mau-Espirito said. “If it’s about title search, why are they ridiculing me right now? I have the title search? I submitted the title search with errors the first day of trial.”

In his response, Soong assured Mau-Espirito that whatever’s in the paper or on social media will not be used in his determination about the case.

Reality: Report: Coco Palms Grifters have no claim

read … Ban Reality

Ethics Board dodges ethics complaint against itself

WHT: …Tucker, owner of Modular Farm Buildings, first filed the ethics complaints against officials in the Building Division for what he saw as preferential treatment for some permit applicants while his permit applications languished in the system.

His ethics complaints, with his name blacked out, were forwarded to the Building Division for review. The division, with county-provided legal counsel, drafted a response that was circulated only to the board.

Yoshimoto said confidentiality rules prohibited Tucker from getting a copy of the response until it came before the board.

Tucker saw the response for the first time when he appeared before the Ethics Board to discuss his petition. The board subsequently dismissed both complaints based on a lack of an alleged violation.

Receiving the response with no time to read through it, Tucker said Tuesday, denied him his basic rights of due process and put him at a disadvantage against the county and its legal counsel.

“Discovery is a pretty basic function for preparing for a hearing,” Tucker said. “That lack of discovery left me poorly prepared to proceed.”….

read … Ethics Board dodges ethics complaint against itself

Trump Immigration Plans Could Create Desperate Shortage of Union Organizers in Waikiki

CB: During his first year in office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked what he calls “chain migration,” a term that loosely refers to any legal immigration based on family ties to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident….

Among them is Victor Gonzales, a 46-year-old who moved to Hawaii in 2011….

Gonzales waited 20 years for a green card that his ex-wife’s American family petitioned for him and his five children. Shortly after his arrival, he landed a housekeeping job at The Modern Honolulu hotel and now works with UNITE HERE Local 5 to help organize fellow hotel workers.

“It took so long that I thought it would never happen,” said Gonzales, who plans to petition for three of his siblings to immigrate here once he becomes a U.S. citizen. “We were really dreaming about it, and it’s everybody’s dream to live here in America.”…

read … Trump Immigration Plans Would Hit Hawaii’s Filipino Families Hard (or not)

As legislative session nears, Restaurants Challenge Anti-Styrofoam Nuts to do Something about Litter

PBN:  …The 2018 legislative session kicks off next week, and one bill that is likely to be proposed again is a motion to ban polystyrene containers, a move that the restaurant industry claims will have a negative effect on local businesses and not solve the underlying issue of litter.

“Would the world be a better place without polystyrene and plastic? Probably, but replacing one product with another does not solve the litter problem,” Gregg Fraser, the executive director of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, told Pacific Business News.

Fraser, who also recently opened his own restaurant on Kauai’s north shore, is involved with a local campaign directed at alleviating the litter issue through improving receptacles at beaches and parks called Malama 808. The initiative is spearheaded by Zippy’s Restaurants chief executive officer, Jason Higa.

“If you want to replace something, replace the receptacles that can’t handle the volume of trash every day, and especially on the weekends,” Fraser said. “Let’s all come together and discuss ways that we can control litter and not just assume that one industry is responsible for the plastic and Styrofoam that ends up in the ocean.”

During last year’s legislative session, a state bill on the ban was proposed, but did not pass. According to the bill, polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam, represents one of the most common and toxic forms of litter pollution in Hawaii. However, it was passed at the county level in Maui County, where it's set to go into effect at the end of the year. 

The ban would prove to be a costly shift for restaurants, as alternative containers cost three to four times more than polystyrene. This is exacerbated by the additional rising costs for the restaurant industry, most notably, the rising minimum wage….

read … As legislative session nears, Hawaii restaurant veteran says banning Styrofoam will not solve underlying litter issue

How liberal is the Ninth Circuit?

Vox: …The Court’s reputation arguably derives from its transformation under President Jimmy Carter. While Carter was the only the fourth president to make no appointments to the Supreme Court, he did appoint 15 people to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, out of 23 judges total at the time. (It’s since expanded.)

“Carter appointed some of the most liberal judges ever, to any court,” Alex Kozinski, a Reagan appointee and former chief judge of the Ninth Circuit who retired following repeated accusations of sexual harassment last year, told the New York Times in 2010.

Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee who’s still serving, is widely viewed as one of the most liberal appellate judges on federal courts. He wrote the Ninth Circuit’s opinionstriking down California’s same-sex marriage ban Proposition 8 in 2012, ruled that the Second Amendment doesn’t recognize an individual right to bear arms, and argued that bans on assisted suicide are unconstitutional.

He also joined in one of the court’s most notorious rulings in 2002, in which Judge Alfred Goodwin wrote that the Pledge of Allegiance’s “under God” clause is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion….

read … How liberal is the Ninth Circuit?

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