The view from Kahala

Two views from Kahala Beach Park after Tropical Storm Darby wandered past. Monday and Tuesday mornings, July 25 and 26.

Koko Crater and Koko Head in the background, across Maunaloa Bay.

Click on either photo to see a larger version.

Kahala Beach

Kahala Beach

State high court rejects ethics charges against Hilo charter school administrator

My weekly column over at Civil Beat today looks at a recent Hawaii Supreme Court case which overturned a major ruling by the State Ethics Commission (“Ian Lind: Ethics Commission Takes A Licking“).

It was the second court ruling overturning a commission action in just a month.

Remember that the CB paywall recently came down, so you’ll have easy access to the column.

The July 19 ruling by the Supreme Court shredded what had been one of the commission’s most extensive and significant enforcement actions in decades.

William Eric Boyd, an assistant administrator at the Connections New Century Public Charter School in Hilo, had been charged with violating the state ethics code by approving or processing purchases of supplies, equipment and school lunches from two companies controlled by Boyd and his wife.

In its decision, the Supreme Court noted that Boyd had actually followed all of the charter school’s policies and procedures, and faced the ethics charges despite apparently having done everything according to the rules.

What didn’t make it into the CB column is that there was no evidence that Boyd was anything other than the lowest bidder, providing needed products and services to the school at the lowest cost.

For example, Hilo attorney Ted Hong, who represented Boyd in the appeal, told me in a telephone interview that products ordered through through the Boyd’s Amway distributorship were sold to the school at their wholesale cost. And the court decision noted that meals for high school students purchased from Boyd’s wife cost just $3 each.

You’ll have to read the CB column to find out just why the court ruled against the ethics commission and ordered that all ethics charges against Boyd be dropped.

Company proposes reef burials off Hawaii Kai

A company is proposing to build artificial reefs in two locations on Oahu using human remains encased in balls of concrete.

Hawaii Memorial Reefs is scheduled to present its proposal to the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board at its regular meeting tonight, Tuesday evening, July 26.

According to the meeting agenda:

A proposed seven-acre artificial reef in Maunalua Bay (“Paradise Reef”) would provide an alternative to traditional burial by incorporating cremated remains into concrete “reef balls” to serve as memorials and reef-building materials – Richard Financ, www.HawaiiMemorialReefs.com

The company is targeting Maunaloa Bay off Hawaii Kai, and another reef at Ko ‘Olina, according to its website.

There is no indication whether the company has obtained or applied for state permission to utilize these reef areas for commercial purposes.

Already, the proposal has drawn opposition from two organizations.

In written testimony, Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui said the burial reefs are inappropriate in the heavily-used waters of Maunaloa Bay.

Traditional Hawaiian practices of canoe paddling, fishing and surfing take place in Maunalua Bay. To add an underwater cemetery to these waters is not appropriate and will interfere with these practices. Who wants to canoe paddle over an underwater cemetery?

A second organization, Aha Wahine, which describes itself as a Native Hawaiian organization registered with the Department of the Interior, cited conflicts with traditional practices and “potential harm to the bay” in opposing the proposal.

Hawaii Memorial Reefs LLC was registered to do business in Hawaii in July 2012, according to state business registration records. It was register by Richard Filanc III, who is listed a manager of the limited liability corporation.

The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meets tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hahaione Elementary School Cafeteria.

Top donors to state and local candidates so far this year

Fiddling with the data filed with the Campaign Spending Commission, I did a quick-and-dirty listing of the top 30 individual campaign contributors to state and local candidates during the period of January 1 to June 30, 2016.

In the top spot is part-time Maui resident Jeffrey Bronfman, an investor and consulted, who contributed $2,000 each to several county council and state House candidates.

Four of the top ten contributors are associated with Capitol Consultants of Hawaii, the state’s top lobbyist firm, who combined to give nearly $60,000 to candidates during the six month period.

The rest are a cross-section of business and development interests.

The totals are probably conservative, as in most cases they don’t include contributions from spouses or dependents, and also do not include contributions from associated businesses or individuals.

But despite the shortcomings, it’s an interesting window in the world of big money contributions.

Campaign Contributors

Tardy Darby

Well, we’re still waiting. The storm as been delayed, or perhaps it has fizzled before reaching us. That’s what we thought when we got up this morning to find a light drizzle, a bit of wind now much out of the ordinary, and no sign of the tropical storm that had been impending when we went to bed last night.

Not that I’m complaining. But we do want to now what’s going on.

So I went online.

First, the local weather radar. It shows a band of rain ready to move across Oahu with a few yellow-orange hot spots. But, again, not out of the ordinary.

I think that if you click on the image, you will see an updated version.

Radar

But then I checked a different satellite view of the islands. It’s just about the same perspective, but in this view the storm looks much more serious, doesn’t it?

Satellite

I’m not sure which reality to plan our day around.

So far, we’re being conservative. It’s Sunday, after all, and we don’t have a busy schedule (although we are having friends over for dinner tonight, if they can make it).