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Monday, January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:36 PM :: 4192 Views

Full Text: State of the State Address 2018

Missile Alert Investigator has Conflict of Interest

It’s all Kumbaya at Pro-Jones Act U.S. House hearing

Federal Shutdown: Hawaii Ties DC With Most Federal Jobs Per Capita

Federal Hearings set on Missile Alert False Alarm

TH: …The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is slated to hold a hearing on Thursday examining the nation's Wireless Emergency Alert system, following a false missile warning in Hawaii earlier this month.

The panel will hear from Lisa Fowlkes, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) public safety and homeland security bureau chief, as well as representatives from the wireless and broadcasting industries.

The FCC has launched an investigation into the incident in Hawaii, during which residents received a false emergency warning about an incoming ballistic missile attack. The message sparked confusion and panic on the islands. It took nearly 40 minutes for authorities to issue a correction.

Officials said the incident was a result of human error during a shift change.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid the blame with Hawaii's system.

"We have been in close contact with federal and state officials, gathering the facts about how this false alert was issued," Pai said in a statement a day after the incident.

"Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert," he added.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has also announced plans to hold a hearing with FCC commissioners about the incident in the coming weeks.

"We need to make sure that a mistake like what happened in Hawaii never happens again," the House panel's leaders said in a joint statement. "The upcoming hearing will be an important opportunity to hear from the commissioners as they continue to investigate the incident."

In addition to Thursday's hearing, the Senate Commerce subcommittee on technology, which oversees the FCC, plans to hold a field hearing in Hawaii, at the behest of Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the ranking member on the subcommittee.

The FCC had announced before the incident in Hawaii that it would vote this month on a proposal to overhaul the Wireless Emergency Alert system by allowing authorities to more narrowly target warnings geographically….

read … Week ahead: Emergency alert system under scrutiny after Hawaii mishap

Lightweight State of the State—No Mention of False Nukes, Ige Reminds Democrats he Doesn’t Like Trump

SA: Gov. David Ige used his fourth State of the State speech to request an additional $100 million from state lawmakers for housing, and says the state is “on track” to build 10,000 new housing units by 2020.

Otherwise, Ige’s prepared remarks were light on specific requests or major new initiatives. Ige spent much of his election-year address praising Hawaii’s charm and diversity, and recapping his administration’s accomplishments in his first three years in office.

Ige’s prepared remarks did not mention the statewide ballistic missile attack false alarm that jolted the state on Jan. 13, which has dominated news coverage and public debate during the past week.

Ige remarked that “we have made our voice clear: Hawaii will not stand for the hateful and hurtful policies of the Trump White House. We are doing more than any other state to stand up for what is right – such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the Paris Climate Accord – and stop what is wrong, such as the travel ban and stopping transgender members of the military from defending our flag and our freedoms.”

read … Ige highlights accomplishments, avoids missilegate in state address

HUD Demands Money Back as Caldwell Mismanagement Leaves Affordable Housing Vacant

CB: The city of Honolulu may have to pay back millions of dollars it received in grants after a federal analysis found that it wasted $10 million on building space that sits empty.

“The city squandered $10 million on abandoned or vacant projects while the island of Oahu struggles with homeless and affordable housing for low-income families,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said in a report released last fall.

Though HUD published its analysis in September, the city is still working to meet the requirements to avoid having to pay back millions of dollars in federal funding in March. So far, it looks like the city will pay back at least $60,000 to make up for one abandoned project and improper spending on administrative costs.

The need to repay these funds is part of a broader failure of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration to properly manage funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The federal agency provides grants to municipalities nationwide that can help provide affordable housing, address homelessness and revitalize poor neighborhoods.

The city already lost nearly $5 million in HUD funding after a monitoring report in November revealed that Honolulu didn’t meet requirements for four separate grants. And the city had to pay back $1.45 million last summer in response to a critical federal audit of the same grants.

Things could get worse.

The vacant building space was supposed to be put to use through the Community Development Block Grant program designed to help low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. CDBG grants can be used for many types of projects, including low-income housing, day care facilities and even firetrucks. The funding stream is particularly important in Honolulu, where affordable housing is in extremely short supply and homelessness increases every year.

Mark Chandler, who oversees the HUD grant program in Honolulu, says that the city has until March to put four properties into use. If not, the federal agency may require the city to pay back the money.

read … Mismanagement Could Cost Honolulu Another $10 Million

Dozens Of Hawaii’s Mentally Ill May Lose Their Homes

CB: The state looks to stop subsidies to people who already have received them for much longer than the intended two years….

The program serves 100 people statewide. They are assigned caseworkers and with the subsidy, pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent….

People with mental illnesses and disabilities make up about 30 percent of Hawaii’s homeless population, according to Greg Payton, the executive director of Mental Health Kokua. …

The Hawaii State Hospital is the only state-run psychiatric facility, and almost exclusively houses people who were criminally committed by state courts.

The health department funds group homes where people with mental illnesses can live and receive varying degrees of supervision and care, ranging from eight- to 24-hour-per-day service.

Calcote tears up at the thought of entering a group home, afraid that she’ll be forced to give up her service animal, a miniature pinscher, and lose her freedom.

Still, that’s the option she says her case manager is encouraging her to take.

“Everybody wants to live on their own,” said Ahue of Steadfast. “But if there is no funding for that and if there are openings in the group homes, you know, that would be a good alternative.”

read … Dozens Of Hawaii’s Mentally Ill May Lose Their Homes

State Ambulances Wear out Shuttling Homeless to Emergency Rooms

SA: The state Department of Health holds contracts with each of the four counties to provide emergency transport and care services. Funding for the three additional ambulances is not in Gov. David Ige’s budget, but the EMS chiefs are hopeful they can get it through the Legislature this year.

Dan Galanis, epidemiologist for the Health Department’s EMS and Injury Prevention Branch, presented data showing EMS responses going up about 3 percent annually since 2012, or about 4,400 more each year.

Data show that during the same time, EMS responses for older patients accelerated at a quicker pace. Of patients who required transport or who died last year, 41.7 percent were 65 or older, up from 37.4 percent in 2012.

The number of homeless patients has also gone up at a faster rate, Galanis said. In 2016, 9,298 patients were homeless and made up 8.5 percent of the statewide number of EMS records. That was up from 2012, when 6,147 homeless patients made up 6.2 percent of EMS records.

Data show the homeless made up only 2.2 percent of individual patients from 2012 to 2016 but 7.6 percent of all encounters, which means they have a higher frequency of repeat calls.

More than half of the homeless patients who received service, 54.2 percent, had more than one encounter. Among those receiving calls who are not homeless, only 21.6 percent had more than one encounter….

read … EMS community renews plea for new ambulances

Here’s What We Pay County Workers — Except For Cops

CB: Our salary database has thousands of new entries, but a legal challenge is holding back Honolulu police officer information….

Finally, there’s the unique Honolulu agency known as the Royal Hawaiian Band, which consists of a bandmaster ($136,512), 31 musicians ranging in pay from $47,868 to $105,000, and a senior clerk typist….

read … Here’s What We Pay County Workers — Except For Cops

Blowing in the wind: Maui Electric Co. saves money by using fossil fuels

PBN:  Maui Electric Co. has been restricting the use of wind power on the Valley Isle in favor of cheaper fossil fuels in a move that seems to go against Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, but that’s only part of the story.

There are currently three wind farms operating on Maui — Kaheawa Wind Power I & II and Auwahi Wind Farm. Combined, they generated around 25 percent of the electricity used by MECO customers in 2016. Starting in 2015, falling fuel-oil prices made fossil-fuel power cheaper than wind power, meaning the utility has been saving money by restricting, or curtailing the wind energy it purchases from the wind farm developers.

“The single biggest reason for this change was MECO’s internal cost of production,” Doug McLeod, owner of Maui-based consulting firm DKK Energy Services LLC, told Pacific Business News. “What I think happened is the oil market that they buy out of saw a really significant drop in 2015.”

According to Maui Electric’s Monthly Curtailment Report, the average cost of wind energy on Maui has remained largely unchanged, from an average of 19.6 cent per kilowatt-hour in 2013 to 20.7 cents per kWh over the first 11 months of 2017.

The average cost of fossil-fuel generation on the other hand has decreased from an average 22.7 cents per kWh in 2013 to 12.5 cents per kWh from January through November last year.

Curtailing wind energy has resulted in savings of $769,000 in 2015, $1.3 million in 2016 and $930,000 through November of last year for MECO.

read … Blowing in the wind: Maui Electric Co. saves money by using fossil fuels

What was MSNBC doing in the bunker before the Hawaii missile scare?

DN:  What was an NBC news crew doing at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on Friday and perhaps Saturday, the day of the false nuclear missile alert?

What was their interaction with the computer operator, and could it have contributed to the “human error” that resulted in widespread panic in Hawaii?

An NBC "Left Field" camera crew was present at the Hawaii Civil Defense Diamond Head bunker on Friday morning and perhaps on Saturday, the day of the false nuclear attack warning…

MSNBC producer Jacob Soboroff spilled the beans during his report via cellphone during the panic on Saturday. He mentioned the “Left Field” visit during his report.

There’s no doubt that the crew visited HEMA on Friday, the day before the alert, because videos are still on the web of their report. Here’s a screen cap of one:

Inside

You can even see what may be the now infamous Post-It sticky with HEMA’s password on it – look at the lower screen, second from the right. There it is, at the left corner of the screen….

DN: Hawaii Emergency Management declined to dedicate a Twitter account for emergency notifications

read … What was MSNBC doing in the bunker before the Hawaii missile scare?

Future bright for Maui’s privatized hospitals

MN: Maui’s state-run hospital system was partially privatized last year, and the change seems to be resulting in better service while saving the state millions of dollars — and providing an example for hospital privatization efforts on other islands….

read … Future bright for Maui’s privatized hospitals

EnVision Maunakea’s process coming to a close; about 100 people participate

HTH: Organizers of EnVision Maunakea say they had one main goal — to start a respectful conversation regarding Hawaii’s tallest mountain and its future.

In that, they say they’ve succeeded through 15 listening sessions around Hawaii Island that recorded residents’ viewpoints on a place prized by many, including Native Hawaiians and astronomers, during the past year. But, as that process comes to a close, they’re hoping the respectful dialogue they witnessed continues….

They said their report, which could be done in the spring, will be a reflection of what they heard during the private sessions, which were intended to allow participants to speak freely….

…a Hawaiian man in Kona framed it this way: “What is the meaning of the realm of the gods in the time of the Toyota 4Runner?”…

The report will be made public and sent to policymakers, such as UH, which holds a master lease for the Maunakea Science Reserve until 2033. It intends to seek a new lease from the state….

Founding members of the EnVision Maunakea working group are: Susan Maddox, Friends of the Future; Greg Chun, OMKM board member; Ka‘iu Kimura, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center; Stephanie Nagata, OMKM director; and Doug Simons, CFHT director.

read … EnVision Maunakea’s process coming to a close; about 100 people participate

Chin: I’m Doing Everything I Can to get More Muslims into USA

TRR: The 2017 travel ban arguably targets Muslims… Today, President Trump’s attorneys argue that his statements—that “Islam hates us,” that he would “strongly consider” closing mosques, and that we should have a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country—should be ignored by the courts in considering the legality of his order. We disagree, and courts have sided with us. As Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watsonexplained when he granted Hawaii’s motion to block the Muslim ban, “the Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters down, and pretend it has not seen what it has.”

President Trump could not have been more wrong when he stated that the Hawaii court’s blocking of his second Muslim ban made America look weak. It showed the resilience of the American system of government. It illustrated that even the “most powerful man in the world” is subject to checks and balances and will be held to the standards established in the United States Constitution….

Totally Unrelated Observation: The U.S. will face a staggering shortage of airline pilots

read … More Muslims

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