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Sunday, May 20, 2018
May 20, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:21 PM :: 3012 Views

OHA Trustee Candidates Aila and Kiaaina ‘Instrumental’ in OHA’s Biggest Boondoggle

Ethics: Why did UPW Prison Guard Get $7000 from Inmate?

Finding the Magic Bullet: City’s Share of Rail Administrative Costs

Lava crosses Highway 137 and enters ocean in lower Puna

On the Ballot this Fall? Council Trick to Return Corruption to Power in HPD

Shapiro: As the Honolulu Police Department makes good progress digging out from the Louis Kealoha corruption scandal, the last thing it needs is an infusion of politics into policing.

Yet that’s exactly what City Councilman Ikaika Anderson is pushing in his proposed City Charter amendment to have the mayor hire and fire the police chief rather than the seven-member Honolulu Police Commission.

The change, which would go to voters in November if approved by the Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell, also would have the Council appoint three of the police commissioners, who are now all appointed by the mayor with Council confirmation….

A shakeup might have looked necessary a year ago, when the Police Commission dragged its feet too long in removing former chief Kealoha in the face of a federal corruption investigation against him — and then let him retire with a $250,000 buyout that commissioners refused to explain to the public or Council.

Since then, however, the system has worked the way it should to correct the problem and public confidence in HPD is on the rise.

Caldwell has replaced six of the seven commissioners with mostly excellent appointees, such as former federal prosecutor Loretta Sheehan and retired Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson, who have made the commission more active and professional in its oversight of the department and accountability to the public.

Commissioners appointed HPD veteran Susan Ballard as the new chief, and she’s been refreshingly straightforward in making the needed changes to move the department past the Kealoha scandals.

It would be foolhardy for the City Council to disrupt this progress by infesting the commission with the politics that would result from making the chief and commission more owing to the mayor and Council….

(Unless their objective is to return HPD to the bad old days in which case their course of action makes perfect sense.)

read … Mixing politics and policing undermines progress

HART Math: $400M isn’t above $240M it is Below $408M 

SA: …HART awarded an “IDIQ” contract for a not-to-exceed amount of $400 million. This is not a typical “low-bid” or “fixed-price” type of contract, but rather one designed to allow maximum flexibility in dealing with utility relocation work. The IDIQ or Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity approach is based on a catalog of firm unit pricing awarded to the contractor….

In this way, HART can issue task orders to the contractor with agreed pricing, until all the work necessary is completed….

To develop a cost estimate for this project, HART considered several scenarios, one of which was to analyze the work in the most optimal environment. That was one in which production and work would not be inhibited due to the need to keep roads open and traffic flowing. This “low end” estimate came in at about $240 million….

But HART is also realistic. To that end, several other detailed estimates were done under differing assumptions to better predict the real-world situation under which the selected contractor would be working. Based on these estimates, HART established a budget of $408 million for the utility relocation work, and the contract awarded to Nan Inc. at $400 million is under that budgeted amount….

read … HART manages risk with $400M deal

Latest Scam to Hike GE Tax: Richards seeks to strip Mass Transit budget

WHT: Kohala Councilman Tim Richards wants to zero out Mass Transit’s general fund budget, leaving county officials wondering how they will keep the buses running at all, much less on time.

Richards’ amendment to the county’s fiscal 2018-19 budget will be heard at 9 a.m. Tuesday when the County Council takes up the budget on first reading. His is the first of two amendments to the $518 million spending plan filed so far by council members, who are expected to offer more amendments when the measure hits its final reading early next month.

(Plan: Create a transportation crisis, then hike the GE Tax to ‘solve’ it.)

Finance Director Deanna Sako said Friday that the amendment, if it passes, could put the county in a tenuous position with federal grants and its paratransit service for disabled riders. She said she’ll confer with the mayor and county civil attorneys if it passes.

“There’s only certain things we can rebalance,” Sako said. “I think it would be very difficult to find that amount out of the highway fund.”

Worst case scenario, Sako said, transit staff would be laid off and bus trips reduced or stopped.

Richards wants to put $630,000 of the $4.6 million into the council’s contingency relief accounts, which would give council members $100,000 each to spread around their districts.

Another $1.9 million would go for salary and wages for the Police Department and $1.9 million would go for parks maintenance. The remaining $150,000 would go to the prosecuting attorney for an agricultural crimes project.

Richards responded only in general terms to his reasoning behind the amendment, saying he has a responsibility to provide constituents the “best possible fiscal oversight” of the county budget.

But his conversation got heated in April 18 budget hearings with Mass Transit Administrator Maria “Sole” Aranguiz….

Meanwhile: Richard proposes property, fuel tax cuts to offset GET

read … Massive Tax Hike

Caldwell: LimeBike will be Cool When it Properly Greases the Haunches of Power

KITV: …LimeBike marketing and communications staffer Mary Caroline Pruitt sent a statement saying, "...the City offered us a rationale behind impounding our scooters, citing our low-speed electric scooters classify as mopeds. As a result, we have decided to temporarily suspend our service out of respect for the city, our riders, and local team-members, while we review the relevant code and evaluate our next steps."

"We hope to be able to work collaboratively with city leaders to establish a sensible regulatory framework around this new shared scooter model so that we can return to serving the City & County of Honolulu." Lime operates in 60 other markets.

It says nearly 2,000 riders in Honolulu rented its scooters between May 9, the company's short-lived launch date, and May 18, when it agreed to pull them off the streets.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he's happy Lime agreed to stop, collaborate, and listen, then come back with a brand new invention of a roll out plan. "I appreciate taking a deep breath and stepping back to the table to see how we can make this program that they're bringing to Honolulu, work well for everybody."….

read … Pay to Play or Else

Public Meetings Begin for 2019-22 Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

KGI: Systems preservation and safety are the priorities for the 2019-22 Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, but the public has a chance to weigh in before it’s finalized….

That’s according to Larry Dill, district engineer for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, who is presenting a list of projects for a first round of the state’s public meetings on the topic.

“These public meetings are part of the process for evaluating the list,” Dill said. “We’re here to gather input to help develop the financially constrained program.”

The public can weigh in by taking a survey or downloading and printing a paper version of the Kauai STIP financially unconstrained list at: HDOT will accept completed surveys and comments until June 18.

read … Feds fixing roads

Anti-GMO Activists Kill Another Farm -- Exultant over Job Destruction on Molokai

MN: Loss of 78 Molokai jobs equivalent to nearly 2,500 on Maui, over 14,000 on Oahu….

On dozens of acres of red Hoolehua soil, tiny green seedlings are popping out of the ground. The cover crops of grass and legumes are the signs of a new chapter on 420 acres of Mycogen-farmed land, soon to be vacated as the seed crop research company consolidates its operations to Kauai and Oahu.

Except for a handful of workers, Mycogen Seeds on Molokai has all but closed down, with the final harvests completed and most of the workers relocated or laid off. And, while some may be happy to see the seed company go, the loss of jobs is tough to swallow….

The last big wave of layoffs in recent memory was when Molokai Ranch shut down operations and laid off about 120 employees in 2008.  (Also caused by activists.)

Monsanto makes up the other half of the island’s seed industry with 67 to 87 full-time and seasonal employees and just under 2,300 acres, of which roughly 500 may be in active production at any given time, according to Dawn Bicoy, community affairs manager for Monsanto on Molokai….

In 2014 when the genetically modified organism moratorium initiative went on the Maui County ballot, Molokai residents voted 63 percent against it….

“When HC&S (Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.) closed, people were happy and celebrated, and it was seen as very insensitive,” Rawlins-Fernandez said….

read … Happy Activists

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