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Tuesday, December 18, 2018
December 18, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:10 PM :: 3681 Views

Ige Introduces Executive Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2019-2021

Maui County Pays Vendors Ripped Off by Anti-GMO Activist

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 16, 2018

National Report: Hawaii Ranks 13th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

2019 Summer Journalism Internships

Zero Based Budgeting on Table as Legislators Seek to Trim Governor’s Power

CB: … The leader of a key legislative committee overseeing the state budget is calling for major reforms in the way the Legislature spends money.

Lawmakers should have more oversight in crafting performance measures the executive branch use to show how effectively it’s using taxpayer money, said House Finance Committee chair Sylvia Luke.

State agencies currently set the measures and report how well they’re meeting them, typically with no independent review.

Luke also wants to implement “zero-based budgeting” in which agencies would start each two-year budget cycle from scratch and justify every dollar they’re requesting.

“We cannot continue to provide these services just because we’ve been doing it,” Luke said. “We need measurables.”

It would probably be 2020 before lawmakers could begin pushing through the sweeping changes, said Luke. But she hopes to begin laying the groundwork during the 2019 session that starts Jan. 16…. 

CB: Terrified BoE Members to Counter Luke Push for ‘Zero Based Budgeting’

read … Sylvia Luke Wants To Change The Way The State Spends Money

Ige Proposes Spending $125 Million For Ala Wai Canal Flood Control

SA: … The governor’s two-year budget plan also includes $315 million for affordable housing and $400 million for education infrastructure projects….

read … Ige Proposes Spending $125 Million For Ala Wai Canal Flood Control

Ige proposes major expansion of ‘free college’ program for low-income students

HNN: …It’s not free college for everyone, but Hawaii Promise is designed to offer free college for the neediest students — and it’s set to undergo a significant expansion.

Under a proposed budget to be presented to the state Legislature, Gov. David Ige would expand the Hawaii Promise program to all four-year colleges in the UH system with $19 million in funding over fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The governor is also proposing to bolster Hawaii Promise funding for community college students….

read … Ige proposes major expansion of ‘free college’ program for low-income students

Ige: Spend $38.2 million on girls’ locker rooms

SA: … Ige also hopes to spend $38.2 million on girls’ locker rooms in high schools across the state. Earlier this month the Hawaii chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the state Department of Education over the lack of girls’ locker room facilities at Campbell High School…. 

read … Cautious Gov. Ige budget holds back $100 million in proposed spending

Kaneshiro Impeachment Suit to be Filed Today

CB: …By Monday, the petition started by Tracy Yoshimura, a plaintiff in a pending federal lawsuit against Kaneshiro, had 851 signatures, enough to begin the impeachment process in court. Four years ago, Kaneshiro unsuccessfully tried to prosecute Yoshimura, a sweepstakes machine distributor, on illegal gambling charges.

Yoshimura’s attorney, Keith Kiuchi, said he plans to file the change.org petition in 1st Circuit Court on Tuesday….

read … Drive to Impeach Honolulu Prosecutor Will Test City’s Vague Law

Queens Spends $2.25M to Convince 84 Homeless to Accept Housing—And its a Money Saver

HNN: … Every month, up to 600 homeless people are admitted into the emergency room at the Queen’s Medical Center. Many of them are repeat patients…. 

(And worst of all, SOME of these 600 aren’t eligible for Medicaid.)

That’s why Queen’s has started using its social workers to navigate their sickest homeless patients into housing.

It’s one of the first hospitals in the country to implement this kind of program — and it’s working.

“We know roughly that one high utilizer (without Medicaid) can on average cost the system $70,000 to $80,000 per year,” said Dr. Daniel Cheng, who heads up the Queen’s Care Coalition, a program that connects medically-fragile homeless people with housing….

(But if they have Medicaid, they are a big money spinner.)

Over the past year and a half, the hospital’s five-member team has worked with 112 patients. Today, 75 percent of them are in some type of housing — an estimated savings of more than $5 million. (75% of 112 = 84 in housing, 28 still refuse)

“I think we’re definitely seeing lower utilization by EMS by some of our homeless high utilizing individuals,” said Cheng….

The program costs $1.5 million a year. Ninety percent of that is paid for by the Queen’s Medical Center, while the rest is covered with grants and other private funds…. 

($1.5M /yr x 1.5 yrs = $2.25M to convince 84 frequent fliers to accept housing)

read … Queen’s sees results with innovative program that helps house medically-fragile homeless patients

Waianae Homeless Camp: Trust a Tweeker with $150K?  Trust Bumpy with $150K?

SA: Pu‘uhonua O Waianae, the self-styled homeless community searching for a new home on the Leeward Coast, has a long road ahead to achieve its goal — but at least there is forward motion and no small measure of determination.

This doesn’t suggest that just any ad-hoc “safe zone” style of encampment would work as a stop-gap solution for Oahu’s homeless- ness problem. In fact, the Pu‘uhonua seems more like a one-off, something unique that could succeed in this case.

But it hinges too much on the commitments made by specific individuals to be easily reproduceable elsewhere….

Some have compared this community to a “safe zone,” a term generally applied to stop-gap shelter offering security and a minimum of sanitation and utilities to the homeless. But it seems more closely akin to Pu‘uhonua O Waimanalo, the self-governed village established by Hawaiian sovereignty activist Bumpy Kanahele….

Last week a private foundation called the REIT Way Hawaii Community Giving Campaign donated $150,000 toward the Pu‘uhonua’s fundraising drive for purchase or lease of a new site.

Added to the $6,000 in contributions already collected and leveraged by an offer from an anonymous donor to match up to $500,000, that means the group ultimately may be able to claim $312,000 toward its objective to raise $1.5 million….

(CLUE: This money will be stolen.)

read … Waianae homeless must foster trust

Dimwits Finally Figure Out Huge Barrier For Trapping Plastic Waste In The Pacific Isn’t Working

AP: …A floating device sent to corral a swirling island of trash between California and Hawaii has not swept up any plastic waste — but the young innovator behind the project said Monday that a fix was in the works.

Boyan Slat, 24, who launched the Pacific Ocean cleanup project, said the speed of the solar-powered barrier isn’t allowing it to hold on to the plastic it catches.

“Sometimes the system actually moves slightly slower than the plastic, which of course you don’t want because then you have a chance of losing the plastic again,” Slat said in an interview with The Associated Press….

Attention Rich Enviros: Pleas send this kid some more of your money. Pleeeeease!

read … Huge Barrier For Trapping Plastic Waste In The Pacific Isn’t Working

Hawaii AG to oppose Obamacare ruling

AP: … On Dec. 14, United States District Judge Reed O’Conner ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional because recent federal action eliminated the measure’s penalty for failing to purchase health insurance – known as the individual mandate. …

KY AG Beshear is joined by attorneys general in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

In the coming days, the group will take the necessary legal actions to appeal the Texas ruling. Beshear said his ultimate goal is for the United State Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

read … No Surprise

Puna Subdivisions Divisive Internal Politics

CB: … Fern Forest, apparently, is about to rejoin a growing list of Big Island subdivisions with two competing boards running their community associations, which have important responsibilities such as maintaining roads in substandard neighborhoods. At one point, Fern Forest had four rival community organizations….

On the same day, Dec. 2, West Hawaii Today announced that the assets of the road maintenance corporation at Hawaii Ranchos, in Kau, had been frozen in a dispute similar to the one at Fern Forest.

At Orchidland in Puna, one group claiming to be the board is fighting both another group with the same claim and a petition by residents to put the association’s assets into a court-appointed receivership.

Residents in several other subdivisions, including Hawaiian Shores and lava-ravaged Leilani Estates, have also reported major conflicts with their association boards. It’s a problem that’s been happening since at least the 1980s, when a similar battle between rival boards in Hawaiian Paradise Park had to be resolved in court….

During the 2018 legislative session, Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, D-Puna, introduced House Bill 2570 to address that problem by making counties responsible for establishing “rules and procedures” for such subdivision community associations, conducting audits of them, establishing an “oversight agency” for them, and even, if a majority of subdivision lot owners approved, to take over fee collection and road maintenance itself.

The bill failed to cross over to the Senate. San Buenaventura hopes to try again next year….

read …  Puna …and Ka’u too!

HSTA Member ‘Terminated’ After Sex With Students, Paid Vacation

MN: … Stephen Rodrigues, who was placed on leave from his job in April, is no longer employed as Baldwin High School band director and teacher, the state Department of Education said Monday.

“We can confirm that Stephen Rodrigues, formerly with Baldwin High, is no longer employed with the Hawaii Department of Education,”communications specialist Derek Inoshita said in an email Monday. “We cannot provide the circumstances or any details about that separation, however, due to personnel confidentiality restrictions.”

Rodrigues had been placed on department-directed paid leave on April 6, as part of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving students.

Department of Education communications obtained by The Maui News referred to allegations that Rodrigues may have engaged in sexual misconduct with three Baldwin students from 2003 to 2005 and that he was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a Baldwin student in the 2017-to-2018 school year.

Rodrigues admitted to inappropriate behavior and activity involving the three students from 2003 to 2005 when they went to his home, according to the communications….

read … What Does it take to fire an HSTA member?

Witnesses describe seeing a ‘drunk’ officer hitting utility pole

MN: … A former Maui Police Department officer’s white Toyota Tacoma truck was seen hitting a cement pillar and sideswiping a parked car before it crashed into a utility pole on South Kihei Road, according to witnesses.

The vehicle owner, identified as Mousa Kawas, 28, of Kihei, was described as “beyond drunk” before the crash in the early-morning hours of Feb. 10, according to testimony at his DUI trial in Wailuku District Court.

At the time, Kawas was off duty and employed as a police officer.

Police said Monday that Kawas, who was last assigned to the Wailuku Patrol District, was no longer employed by MPD as of Nov. 30….

read … Witnesses describe seeing a ‘drunk’ officer hitting utility pole

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