Ige makes deal to get his friend a job


Word on the street is that Governor David Ige struck a deal with UH President David Lassner to get the governor’s friend, developer lobbyist Carleton Ching, a job as UH director of land development.  The price?  Vetoing HB553 which would have given graduate student state employees the right to collectively bargain.

According to Civil Beat, about 1300 graduate students at UH Manoa have not received a raise since 2004 despite having their work loads increased.  Section 89-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes currently excludes students from collective bargaining, lumping them together with prison inmates.

Graduate students have consistently pointed out that this exclusion violates their right to collectively bargain found in Hawaii’s state constitution. Article III, Sec 2.

In the last eleven years graduate students tuition had gone up, living expenses have climbed, and work load has increased but pay has remained stagnant.

Rep Isaac Choy sponsored HB553 which would have lifted the ban on collective bargaining by graduate student employees.

UH Vice President, Risa Ackerman opposed the measure saying it would cost the university more money and they were doing the grads a service by allowing them to teach and do research.

Graduate student Claudio Corti spoke forcefully about the conditions graduate student employees face:

The compensation scale for graduate assistants has not been increased since 2003/2004. Previously, the scale was increased every year from 1987/88 to 1992/93 and every three or four years between 1993/94 and 2003/2004. Policy set by President of the University of Hawai’i System has scheduled the next review for 2018.

Graduate student employees are rehired each year, and sometimes each semester, many students are afraid to complain about being overworked and/or mistreated. Loss of employment midyear could be devastating as deadlines for financial assistance are either prior to the start of fall or early in the fall semester.

Graduate student employees have no say over insurance premiums. Our insurance premiums are higher than faculty yet constituting a more significant portion of our salaiy. Moreover, we are not afforded sick days or family leave. As a result, sick graduate student employees risk being fired if they choose to stay home in order to avoid spreading illness to students.

Graduate students are an integral part of the UH system. We constitute a committed learning community, do important research, and perform a substantial proportion of the teaching duties. However, we are not afforded the same labor protections that faculty and staff are. We deserve to be treated equally, not abused and exploited.

Attorney Lance Collins was more blunt in responding to UH’s assertion that graduate student employees were being taught skills (presumably working for low wages is included in the skills being taught) so they should not be able to bargain for better pay:

Over the years, the University has stated that its purpose for graduate assistantships is to train and mentor graduate students for their professional careers. Taking collective action for the betterment of working conditions and collective bargaining should be included in that training. Being subject to arbitrary and capricious employment decisions and poor and abusive working conditions only trains graduate students to accept that such harmful conduct is a necessary component to academic life — when it, in fact, is not.

When HB553 passed final reading unanimously with Rep Ward voting aye with reservations and Rep Tsuji excused, UH president David Lassner reportedly begged Governor Ige to veto HB553.

Reports are that the Governor cashed in on his favor to Lassner – appoint his long-time friend, Carleton Ching, to oversee development of the University of Hawaii’s extensive property holdings — much of it crown or so-called “ceded” lands. It is believed the purpose of this UH position is to give Ching a government title related to land management so that in the future, his lack of such experience won’t be an issue.

Last time we met Castle and Cooke developer-lobbyist Carleton Ching, Gov. Ige was trying to shove his appointment through confirmation as head of Department of Land and Natural Resources.  There was so much outcry, especially when Ching’s lack of knowledge of basic land and water use law became glaringly apparent, that Ige was forced to withdraw the appointment.

But Ige is nothing if not loyal to his long-time friends and subjecting the approximately 1300 student employees to continued voicelessness and exploitation (as they tell it) is not too great a price to pay to do his friend a favor.

On June 29, 2015 Ige announced his intent to veto HB553.  On November 13, 2015 UH president David Lassner announced the appointment of Carleton Ching to Director of Land Development for UH.

Our question:  Who was responsible for blocking an over-ride vote of this bill that passed with unanimous support?

Answer: In caucus, it was revealed that Sylvia Luke and Scott Saiki had made commitments to the governor that his veto on this bill would not be overridden in exchange for certain other bills supported by the House’s majority leadership not being vetoed.


Posted in Ige's Bad Appointments

Lege cut back on DoH vector control – now Big Island has Dengue


In this November 9, 2015 interview with Dr. Lorrin Pang, who successfully eradicated Dengue from Maui island in 2001, he talks about the Legislature cutting funds for disease vector (e.g. mosquitoes etc) control.  We can hope that his effective and hands-on approach will be able to stop the Big Island infection and that the Legislature quickly gives him the money to do it.  According to Senator Kalani English, there is $1.5 million that can be used.

Posted in Penny wise pound foolish

Dept of Health dropping the ball on Big Island dengue?


Dengue is a serious disease caused by a bite from an infected mosquito.  With many popular surf spots in overseas endemic Dengue areas, we generally have a few cases brought back every year.  On Maui aggressive steps, under Public Health officer Dr. Lorrin Pang, to prevent Dengue from taking hold in our local mosquitoes has isolated these cases and prevented a recurrence of the 2001 situation where East Maui mosquitoes became infected with Dengue.

Prior to that, the last known Autochthonous (caused by our mosquitoes rather than contracted overseas) dengue infections in Hawaii were in 1944.  Allowing dengue to get a toe hold in our home-grown mosquitoes, would be a disaster.  For instance the island of Bali has yearly outbreaks which fill their hospitals to 100% occupancy.

But now dengue has taken hold on Big Island.

The Maui outbreak was stopped and eradicated by a major public information campaign including flyers and free mosquito repellent placed along the Road to Hana, public service announcements on TV and radio, community meetings and close monitoring of possible cases.  The Public Health department on Maui still insures that dengue doesn’t take hold by eradicating mosquitoes around a suspected case home and going door to door to warn neighbors to eradicate mosquitoes, take precautions not to be bit and be aware of symptoms.

But what is Big Island doing?  According to residents, not much.

Oahu office is overseeing the crisis but it is not clear that they are responding to the outbreak with the quick action that is required to prevent dengue from becoming entrenched on Big Island (and as we’ve seen with the coqui frogs and Little Fire Ants, spreading to the rest of the Hawaiian islands).

  • They have not identified the infected areas.  Kona-Kailua, Kaloli Point, and Volcano have been mentioned in social media as sites with dengue cases but DoH is mum.
  • They have not done education outreach
  • It is unclear as to whether they are even eradicating mosquitoes around infected patients and warning neighbors.

Since the Health Department is letting us down on this threat, it is up to the residents to do their job for them.  Make sure this information gets out.

  1. Clean up all old tires and containers which could hold water for mosquitoes to breed in. Plants which hold water at the base of their leaves like Bromeliads should be taken out or squirted daily with soapy water.
  2. Wear mosquito repellent. Consider a mosquito net for your bed.
  3. If you experience fever, bad headache, bone aches and fatigue, suspect dengue and report it to Oahu Dept of Health at 808 586-8362.  Rash is also a symptom in some cases.
  4. If you suspect you have dengue, your biggest danger will be dehydration.  Dengue attacks the platelets in blood. These are the clotting factors and with low platelets you may have many small hemorrhages which appear as red dots (especially on the feet) and dark dots obscuring your vision.  Don’t worry, all this will go away a few months after you recover.  Your immediate danger is shock due to loss of fluids.
  5. Have someone take care of you and insure you have plenty of fluids and are fed.
  6. Tell your doctor you suspect Dengue and that they should take a platelet count.  Your platelets don’t start dropping until a few days after the other symptoms appear.  If they drop below 80,000 you might need to be hospitalized for supportive care like IV fluids.  There isn’t much else that you can do.
  7. Stay in bed and rest.
  8. Notify your neighbors and give them this information
  9. Allow Dept of Health to spray around your house to kill the infected mosquitoes.  I know many people don’t like pesticides (with good reason) but this is one of the few circumstances where they are life savers and worth the side effects.
  10. Organize community information sessions and make sure the Dept of Health shows up to educate and inform residents and visitors.
  11. Visitor accomodations should inform visitors about wearing mosquito repellent.

If the Big Island Department of Health won’t get on the ball and treat this as the emergency it is, we will have to pick up the slack.  Here are some informational handouts:

Preventing Dengue

Recognizing and caring for dengue patients

Prevent Mosquitoes to Prevent Dengue

Posted in Dept of Health

Elle Cochran files complaint against Forward Progress, PRP & Buenconsejo


PRP and its successor organization, Forward Progress (both bankrolled by the Carpenters Union slush fund,Hawaii Carpenters Recovery Market Fund) are yet again the subject of allegations for dirty dealings and illegal actions.

Maui County Councilmember Elle Cochran filed a complaint today with the Campaign Spending Commission against Pacific Resource Partnership (“PRP”), Forward Progress, and former Maui County Council candidate Butch Ka’ala Buenconsejo.  The complaint alleges that Forward Progress and Buenconsejo engaged in illegal campaign coordination during the 2014 election year.  It further alleges that Forward Progress made unauthorized expenditures and contributions to Buenconsejo’s campaign.  The complaint seeks to have fines imposed upon PRP/Forward Progress and its responsible individual directors in an amount three times the illegal expenditures made to Buenconsejo.  It further seeks to ban PRP from organizing or operating as a Super PAC under any name in the State of Hawai‘i.

She’s asking the Campaign Spending Commission to bar “PRP from organizing or operating as a super PAC of any kind in the State of Hawai‘i, including banning the HCRP from creating another super PAC by any other name in the State of Hawai‘i”

The complaint cites evidence of prohibited coordinated activity between Forward Progress and Buenconsejo during the 2014 election year.  The evidence cited includes Buenconsejo’s 2014 campaign calendar identifying mail drop dates for campaign mailers which coincide with Forward Progress mailers smearing Councilmember Cochran.  The campaign calendar shows that Buenconsejo was privy to and coordinated his campaign around the precise dates on which PRP and Forward Progress would be sending out mailers, information not generally known to the public and therefore constituting clear evidence of illegal coordination between Buenconsejo, PRP, and Forward Progress.

Based on substantial evidence of actual coordination, the complaint contends that Forward Progress, while registered as a noncandidate committee, was in fact a candidate committee making illegal and excessive expenditures to and on behalf of Buenconsejo.

“PRP is a repeat offender”, said Bridget Morgan, one of Ms. Cochran’s attorneys.  “Although they have been fined in the past, made to publically apologize and disband Super PACs previously operating under various names, they continue to make a mockery of campaign laws.”  With the evidence of illegal coordination at hand, Ms. Cochran believes she is obligated to seek to put a stop to PRP’s misconduct in the State of Hawai‘i once and for all.

The complaint reads like a political thriller with Cochran’s office following clues and a cast including a double-dealing employee and sign stealing that appeared to trace back to Forward Progress officials. Read the complaint here.

Posted in Forward Progress PAC, PACs

400 Maui activists say no to TPP. Talks end without agreement


On July 29th with the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) negotiators and ministers sequestered in the plush Mariot resort at Ka’anapali Beach on Maui, 400 conch shell blowing TPP protestors showed up to say “no” to the TPP.

Photo of 400 conch shell blowing Maui residents protesting the Trans Pacific Partnership at Ka'anapali Beach outside the secret TPP negotiations held at the Westin.

On Maui 400 Stop the TPP on Land and Sea protestors sound the kahea (call) with conch shells

Event organizer Trinette Furtado said that in blowing the pū (conch shell),

“we are putting out a mighty kahea (call), past the shorelines of Maui, to connect with others standing up for their ‘āina (land) and people.”

Read more ›

Posted in Community Activism

TPP Negotiators on Maui Will Be Greeted by Anti-TPP Pū blowers

july29flyerTPP secret negotiations are going on right now at the plush Westin Maui Resort & Spa at Ka’anapali on Maui.

Activists on Maui are preparing to greet the TPP nation ministers with an attempt to break the Guinness World Record in beach pū (conch) blowing outside their hotel.  A tiny group of Maui residents are putting together this national event with backing and help from Kāko’o Haleakalā, AiKea, Hawaii Sierra Club, Hawai‘i SEED Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action H.A.P.A, UNITE HERE Local 5, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, Flush the TPP, Popular Resistance, MoveOn, CREDO, SumOfUs, Babes Against Biotech, Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, `Ohana o Kauai, Occupy Wall Street Maui and many more.

In the last four days since discovering that the TPP negotiators were holding meetings on the secretive treaty on Maui, they’ve gotten permission from Guiness World Records to try for a world record, created a website, TPPmaui.com, put out PSAs and press releases and coordinated with the national groups.

Maui’s noisy anti-TPP event takes advantage of Hawai’i laws which say that the beach is public property.

SumOfUs has contributed towards T-shirts for participants to highlight the opposition to the TPP.

Event organizers say:

I ka wā ma mua, ka wā ma hope (“the future is in the past”) – In understanding the past, we look to the future: we rally together in prelude to  Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, Restoration Day, when after being temporarily seized by the British Navy, sovereignty was restored and Kamehameha III proclaimed before a large crowd, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono (“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”)

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Posted in International

More documents turn up pointing to real purpose of Community Plan bill

A document presented at the Maui Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by their Construction Industry PAC arm explains exactly why PC-021 has been proposed and how it will make Community Plans toothless exercises in uselessness.

Read more ›

Posted in The Corrupt Construction Industry

Construction Lobbyist: Sneak Attack on Maui Community Plans


On Thursday June, 18, 2015 the Maui County Council will hear a bill introduced by Councilmember Don Couch but most likely written by developer lobbyist, Charlie Jenks and the Maui Chamber of Commerce that will make community plans entirely toothless and irrelevant.


Under current law, the administration can zone areas but even if a parcel is zoned “Hotel” if the citizens who create the community plan want the land to be “Park” or “Residential” the developer cannot build a hotel on the land.  This bill will eliminate the citizens’ voices from planning and make the community planning process irrelevant.

One has to hand it to Don Couch, the Chamber of Commerce and the developer lobbyists: they’ve got chutzpah!

PC-021 Amending Chapter 2.80B

Posted in The Corrupt Construction Industry

Big win for Monsanto/Syngenta in state senate reorganization


After a brief year of  the Hawai’i senate being responsive to constituents, a coup led by Jill Tokuda, Michelle Kidani, Ronald Kouchi, Kalani English, Mike Gabbard and Gil Keith-Agaran has returned control to the corporations.  Those who listened to the voice of the voters and voted down developer lobbyist Carleton Ching have been ousted by Tokuda’s corporatist faction. Read more ›

Posted in Corporate Control of Hawai'i, Donna Mercado Kim

Balfour a climate change denier


Sources tell us that when Gov Ige’s people asked Bill Balfour  whether he thought climate change was an issue to worry about with regard to water, he indicated that he felt it might or might not be real and might or might not be caused by humans, and said if it was,  it was “God’s will”.

And Gov Ige  nominated him to the Water Commission knowing this?  Perhaps we should have asked David Ige whether he is a climate change denier too.

Here are the phone numbers for the WTL Committee. The final hearing is Friday, April 17 at 1:15pm in room 224.

Chair Laura Thielen: 587-8388  senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Vice-Chair Brickwood Galuteria: 586-6740  sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
Les Ihara: 586-6250  senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
Maile Shimabukuro: 586-7793  senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov
Gil Riviere: 586-7330  senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
Sam Sloan: 586-8420  senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
Russel Rudermann: 586-6890  senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
Gov Ige  586-0034


Posted in Ige's Bad Appointments


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