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Thursday, February 28, 2019
February 28, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:18 PM :: 3335 Views

Poll: Gabbard at 0% in New Hampshire and Iowa

What do the FBI, OHA, and Kauai Have in Common?

OHA Must Do More to Solve the Hawaiian Home Lands Problem

Oahu: 12% More Homeless Refuse Shelter

Housing Instability and Crowding a Hardship for Hawaii Babies

Feds Bust Labor Law Violators at Hawaii Malls

Mortgage debt-to-income ratio crushing in Hawaii

SB1009 Negates Public Health Benefits of Vaping

January: More Tourists--Less Spending

With Hanabusa Gone, Old Boys See Kahele as Opportunity to Regain Grip on Congressional Delegation

SA: … Former Govs. Neil Abercrombie and John Waihee are throwing their support behind state Sen. Kai Kahele in his bid for the congressional seat occupied by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an indication that Kahele — while a relative newcomer to politics — could prove a formidable (will be the old boys') candidate in next year’s race.

Both are expected to play leading roles in Kahele’s campaign, which is already holding two fundraisers next month — one at the Pacific Club in Honolulu on March 14 and another in Hilo on March 28….

Gabbard, who announced in January that she is running for president, hasn’t responded to questions from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in recent weeks about whether she plans to run for re-election next year and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this story. However, she can simultaneously run in both the presidential and congressional primaries, according to Hawaii’s Office of Elections….

a recent New Hampshire primary poll had Gabbard at the bottom of a crowded field of primary presidential contenders, who have announced they are running or are expected to, with zero percent of the vote….

“I think he is one of the brightest stars in Hawaii politics,” said Waihee of Kahele, who as a child used to do sign-waving for him. Both Abercrombie and Waihee were close to his father, former state Sen. Gil Kahele….

Jan 22, 2019: Old Boys, Republicans Rally Behind Kahele for CD2

April, 2016: Two months later, no action on Kahele DLNR leasehold

Gone, needing a replacement:

Most Intelligent Comment: “Here on the Big Island we call him ‘gut and replace’ Kai for his unethical use of that tactic to pander to the Hawaiians on some TMT legislation. He is just another good old boy surrogate with a fresh face.”

read … Former governors support Gabbard challenger

Lawmakers Propose Fixes For A Broken Psychiatric Care Law

CB: …Last summer, the Institute for Human Services successfully petitioned to get a person into the program who has been arrested more than 30 times. The nonprofit next took up the fight for outpatient treatment for someone who has been arrested on more than 80 occasions.

But the petition process is lengthy and onerous, and the nonprofit IHS doesn’t have adequate staff or funding to take on more cases.

“It was written with the idea that a family member would initiate it and be able to pay for an attorney,” said Trisha Kajimura, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii. “But I think one of the things they are finding in being able to implement it is that organizations like IHS are trying to implement it and they don’t have family members involved necessarily — so who should incur the costs of hiring an attorney?”

To that end, Senate Bill 1124 would allow anyone to petition for a court order to treat a person with mental illness in the community through the ACT law.

It’s due for a vote by the full Senate.

Also alive is Senate Bill 1465, which would require health insurance to cover some expenses related to petitions and hearings required during the process to receive court-ordered treatment under ACT.  The bill is scheduled for a vote Thursday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Senate Bill 1465 would encourage mental health professionals to assess patients to see if they are good candidates for ACT upon release from an involuntary emergency psychiatric hospitalization….

Other bills addressing the needs of people with serious mental illness include House Bill 1221, which seeks to expand the legal grounds law enforcement and hospital workers have to temporarily treat a patient under an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization when certain medication is not taken or necessary mental health treatment is not used.

The current law allows authorities to temporarily hospitalize a person with mental illness against their will only if they are “dangerous to others” or “dangerous to self.”…

“What they did in the ‘80s is they disassembled the asylums, put people into case management and they left it to the state,” Cabanilla Arakawa explained. “They said, ‘You don’t have to be crazy anymore if you take your medication.’ But the state did nothing….

read … Lawmakers Propose Fixes For A Broken Psychiatric Care Law

Penalizing REITs in Hawaii would cost state revenue, jobs

SA: … the bills being considered by the Legislature repeal the deduction REITs receive on dividends they pay their shareholders…..

These bills, if enacted, will likely reduce the general excise tax (GET) REITs generate for Hawaii, and will send the message that Hawaii is an unfriendly place to invest in projects delivering long-term benefits to our communities.

REIT-owned projects can be found throughout Hawaii — places that residents depend on to enhance their quality of life — including Pearlridge center, Hale Pawa‘a Medical Center, Wet’n’Wild, and Hale Mahana University of Hawaii student housing.

Taxing REIT shareholder dividends is not a pot of gold. At the Feb. 12 hearing before the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee on House Bill 475, the state Department of Taxation (DOTAX) noted that bill passage would result in corporate income tax revenues from REITs of about $2.2 million in the first year and $10 million annually thereafter.

This objective analysis from DOTAX contrasts sharply with claims by the bill’s proponents about a windfall of “$50 to $60 million” in new corporate income tax for Hawaii.

DOTAX provided additional warnings about these lower estimates, noting REITs would likely “respond in ways that reduce substantially any latent tax liability,” which would further lower the revenue generated for the state….

read … Penalizing REITs in Hawaii would cost state revenue, jobs

HART’s ‘Bump In The Road’ Is Code For ‘We’re In Deep S#%* Here’

CB: … Robbins’s use of “bumps in the road” is so graphically inaccurate that it highlights the familiarity, power and danger of the term itself.

“Bump in the road” is a main-man utensil in policymakers’ tool kits of metaphors that are supposed to make us don’t-worry-be-happy.

The term is meant to minimize the problem. Things may seem bad, but it’s only temporary. We shall overcome real soon….

The term bumps in the road is not used to analyze or apologize. No, it’s used to inspire. When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. Then you will never walk alone.

Though the person walking with you may be a federal marshal….

CB: Pause Honolulu Rail Now Rather Than Later

read … HART’s ‘Bump In The Road’ Is Code For ‘We’re In Deep S#%* Here’

A dismissed 2015 DUI is among the ways Kealoha allegedly helped her friends

HNN: … Author Chris McKinney is one of those friends: According to court documents, Kealoha dismissed his 2015 DUI case.

The two grew up near each other on Oahu’s windward side and McKinney was close friends with Kealoha and her brother, Dr. Rudy Puana.

Kealoha, who faces a host public corruption and financial fraud charges, is also charged with her brother in a massive, 54-indictment on drug and firearms charges.

And McKinney is identified in that indictment as co-conspirator #1 ….

read … A dismissed 2015 DUI is among the ways Kealoha allegedly helped her friends

Violence against officers a troubling trend

KHON: …Travis Kaka says, "he had two knives. The one was the one that actually hit the cop with. And when we had him down I was trying to grab his arm to bring in the back so the female officer could cuff that arm as well...he was trying to reach for his pocket and the female officer noticed it."

Encounters like these are happening more, lately.

Malcom Lutu, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, joined the force in 1989, and says Hawaii didn't used to have so much anti-police sentiment.

What's happening?

"You know, our job is changing. A bunch of us get around and start asking the same questions, as officers -- just, kind of saying that maybe there's a bad bunch of drugs out there, we don't know, it's just, the attitude toward our officers is different. The climate is changing. This job is changing." ….

read … Violence against officers a troubling trend

Police investigating whether shooting by undercover officers violated policy

HNN: … Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said last week that Thomas was responsible for the shooting because he drove at the officers, who clearly identified themselves.

But she added that department policy usually requires traffic stops to be conducted by uniformed officers in marked cars.

“Per our policy, that we always ask them (undercover officers) if at all possible, they are to call for a marked vehicle to stop the car," the chief said, during a news conference last week.

The chief said the plainclothes officers were in the area on another case and followed Thomas because he fit the description of a shoplifting suspect.

Preliminary tests showed that Thomas, who had minor criminal history, had meth and marijuana in his system when he died.

The investigation is ongoing and the family is considering a civil lawsuit….

read … Police investigating whether shooting by undercover officers violated policy

Do UH Grad Assistants Need a Union?

CB: … The students want a union, but UH argues that a union will not resolve issues like workplace harassment, low wages or unfair treatment….

The university has at least one example of a student group that pushed a department at UH Manoa to give its graduate assistants higher stipends.

Seth Travis recalls a lunch conversation with some friends in the oceanography department one afternoon in 2015. Travis had just been elected president of a student group for oceanography students.

The conversation shifted to Hawaii’s high cost of living, and soon, to how stipend amounts for graduate assistants in the oceanography department stacked up to other universities.

“They said, ‘hey, Seth is president. He should look into it,’” Travis said. “Initially it was curiosity on my part. Were we out of the ordinary?”

He found that UH’s oceanography department lagged behind seven other universities with similar oceanography departments. Of seven other institutes, UH’s oceanography stipends ranked second to last, and when adjusted for cost of living in each school’s city, UH came in dead last, according to a report Travis put together in 2016.

“The faculty were very impacted by seeing that adjustment,” he said.

His department made substantial changes shortly after Travis presented his findings to them. The oceanography department now pays its graduate student assistants at the highest pay grade which amounts to about $35,460 a year.

“I was really amazed with how quickly they said let’s do this,” Travis said.

Travis’ report also prompted the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology to adopt a higher pay schedule. Entry level graduate assistants with a bachelor’s degree now make about $28,000 a year, up from $24,900 in years prior.

Graduate students in SOEST are some of the highest paid in the university system, thanks in part to Travis’ report….

read … ‘It’s More Than Pay’: The Plight Of UH Grad Assistants

How Many Kids In Hawaii Have Been Vaccinated? The State Doesn’t Know

CB: … The state Department of Health says a high percentage of schools haven’t reported the number of kindergarten students who’ve received vaccination waivers….

Hawaii’s 393 public, private and religious schools were all required to file vaccination exemption waivers at the beginning of the school year in August.

The Health Department said “more than 60 percent, but less than 70 percent” of schools are currently in compliance. The department blamed its own staff shortages for the failure to enforce regulations that require filing of reports on the number of students who are unvaccinated….

Worries about vaccination rates have taken on new urgency nationwide with recent measles outbreaks in Washington state, Texas and New York and growing anti-vaccination sentiment among some of the public….

read … How Many Kids In Hawaii Have Been Vaccinated? The State Doesn’t Know

A royal flush: Some Ka‘u residents face hefty bills for mandated sewer connections

HTH: … Hawaii County is moving ahead with construction of wastewater treatment plants for both communities so it can close gang cesspools, also known as large-capacity cesspools, there as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Homes that use the gang cesspools, a legacy of the sugar plantation era, won’t have to pay for their connections.

But others who live along the path of the sewer lines will have to connect, per county code, and pay for the expense.

That cost could be between $10,000 and $20,000 for each property, according to county estimates….

A bill in the state Legislature — Senate Bill 221 — would authorize the state Department of Health to create a low-interest loan program for converting cesspools to septic tanks or connecting to a sewer system….

The $41 million treatment plant, which will use oxygen and microbes to break down waste, is proposed to be built makai of the Naalehu Hongwanji….

The Naalehu plant will connect 163 homes that are currently using gang cesspools, plus another 66 properties that will be required to connect, said Michelle Sorensen, project engineer for consultant Brown and Caldwell. The latter increased after the proposed location was changed.

One of those affected by the change is the Hongwanji, which spent about $10,000 replacing its cesspool with a septic system in 2013….

read … A royal flush: Some Ka‘u residents face hefty bills for mandated sewer connections

Masterpiece or Mistake? A Hawaii Museum’s $7.5 Million Question

NYT: … In 2018, the tech billionaire Marc Benioff donated a wooden statue of a Hawaiian war god he had bought at auction for about $7.5 million to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The snarling, musclebound deity, known as “The Island Eater,” is now the centerpiece of a major exhibition there, exploring the role of traditional sculpture in Hawaiian culture and society.

This private act of restitution came amid a growing clamor for Western collections to return ethnographic artifacts to their places of origin.

At the sale in Paris, Christie’s said the wooden war god was about 200 years old. But now doubts have emerged about the sculpture’s age, inside and outside the Bishop Museum. Some international experts say the piece could be from the 20th century and worth less than $5,000.

“It’s the sort of thing you see in a tiki bar,” said Daniel Blau, an expert in the art of the Pacific islands who is based in Munich….

The issue could be given closure if Mr. Benioff were to claim a charitable tax deduction for his $7.5 million donation to the Bishop Museum. Having been bought at auction for more than $50,000, the sculpture would have to be appraised by the I.R.S. Art Advisory Panel, which would recommend a true market value….

read … Masterpiece or Mistake? A Hawaii Museum’s $7.5 Million Question

Legislative News:



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