Hawaii State Critical of TV Program Misrepresenting Hunting in Hawaii – Investigation Launched Into Possible Law Violations While Filming

In response to The History Channel’s new series “American Jungle,” the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), as well as representatives of hunting, animal protection and film agencies in Hawaii, find the series’ depiction of hunting activities on the Island of Hawaii to be inaccurate, offensive, and in some cases, potentially illegal.

Clans

The DLNR Division of Conservation Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is currently conducting an investigation into whether several of DLNR’s rules and regulations may have been broken during the filming of the program. Activities such as night hunting both on public and private land, are illegal under Hawaii Revised Statues §183D-27 and Hawaii Administrative Rules §13-123-6. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), which oversees DLNR’s hunting program, denied a permit request last spring for the production to film on state forest lands.

The series depicts “clans” that are fighting over access trails to territorial hunting grounds that inaccurately portray restrictive access to Hawaii’s public lands, which are held in public trust for the people. Though the filming may have occurred on private land, the maps depicted in the show clearly demark areas that are under DLNR’s jurisdiction. Comments received by DLNR staff from U.S. Mainland viewers have already made it clear that the program gives a warped interpretation of Hawaii’s hunting program.

“DLNR enforces hunting rules in the interests of public and hunter safety, established game management practices and to provide a recreational and sustainable sporting tradition. We denied the film permit request because it failed to provide sufficient details to indicate the show’s content, and raised concerns as to possible illegal activities that might be depicted in the series,” stated DLNR Chairperson William Aila.

Additionally, the cultural insensitivity of the series is also a concern to DLNR. In the first episode of “American Jungle,” spears and dogs were used to hunt a cow. However, in an archival review of more than 60,000 historical documents, there is no evidence that native Hawaiians hunted pigs in the forest with spears, let alone cattle. Further, cattle are not recognized as game animals in Hawaii and are illegal to hunt without a special feral cattle control permit issued by DLNR under §13-123-12.

The Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission also expressed its discontent: “GMAC is very disappointed in the History Chanel’s new series, ‘American Jungle.’ The show’s content does not in any way portray the views or actions of the Big Island hunters or residents,” said Willie-Joe Camara, GMAC District 1 commissioner. “As you know, the people of the Big Island, as well as the entire state of Hawaii, take pride in helping our neighbors and showing our visitors our “Aloha” way of life. So far ‘American Jungle’’ has done nothing to show that.”

“Hunting serves important historical, cultural and practical roles in Hawaii,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “When guided by lawful and ethical hunting practices, hunting supports worthy conservation objectives in protection of native species and habitats against invasive and destructive elements. Portraying our local hunters as primitives demeans our people and their contributions to subsistence and wildlife conservation. This appears to be a fictional ‘reality’ production with no connection to actual hunters in Hawaii. If we discover any laws or regulations have been broken we will vigorously pursue legal and/or criminal charges.”

“The methods depicted violate core fair and ethical hunting principles, including preventing prolonged and unnecessary animal suffering.” Inga Gibson, Hawaii director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The film industry provides guidelines for the proper care of animals during production. Concerns regarding the ethical treatment of animals and whether some of the scenes were “staged” have also been raised.

“By their very nature, so-called reality television programs are difficult to control, given their unscripted, fast-paced style,” said Donne Dawson, manager of the Hawaii Film Office.

“But they are exactly why we have a well-established film permitting process in place. Our state film permits are the only way we can help productions get what they need safely, while at the same time protecting our natural and cultural resources and providing the necessary liability insurance.”

“The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is alarmed by the hunting practices depicted in the American Jungle series,” said Randy Awo, DOCARE chief. “All persons involved in verifiable hunting activities that are contrary to the laws, rules and regulations established to ensure safe and responsible hunting practices in the state of Hawaii, may be subject to criminal prosecution or DLNR administrative hearings.”

DLNR and the Humane Society of the United States offer a reward of up to $5,000 for any violations of state conservation laws. To report violations, call 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

Damien Memorial Fudges Grant Application, Swindles $1.5 Million from State

What do you do when your umbrella organization files for bankruptcy (to avoid costly sex abuse civil trials); ten of your former teachers are exposed as perpetrators; and at least 15 former students come forward to say they were sexually abused by your teachers and brothers?

Swindle the state of Hawaii out of $1.5 million, of course.

Damien Memorial School, Honolulu’s hotbed of alleged child sex crimes, has just been granted $1.5 million in state (read: taxpayer) money for capital improvements. The problem? Damien fudged on the application, dramatically and untruthfully understating the legal mess they are facing because of child sex abuse and cover-up.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child's safety.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child’s safety.

From page 11 of the application, dated January 2013:

Litigation

The applicant shall disclose any pending litigation to which they are a party,

including the disclosure of any outstanding judgment. If applicable, please

explain.

Three lawsuits are pending against Damien and the Roman Catholic Church in

Hawaii for which Damien has denied all allegations and is represented by

counsel for the Diocese. No judgments have been entered.

There is no mention of the 15 legal claims that were pending against the school at the time. (the $16.5 million settlement was not announced until May 2013). Nor is there any mention of the fact that victims still have the right sue the school and a civil window granting them the right to do so.

The school could be on the hook for millions in compensation for the kids who were sexually abused by priests and brothers while they were Damien students. But the Christian Brothers of Hawaii have no problem raiding public coffers – money much better used for the public schools in the state.

Damien officials KNEW that were knee-deep in legal trouble when they filled out the grant application. But did they disclose? No.

No matter your opinion of Damien, factual omissions on applications for public monies are wrong, immoral and illegal. Besides, if Damien officials are “omitting” facts for money, what else will they “omit” as more victims assert their legal rights?

The grant monies should be rescinded immediately. A criminal investigation, perhaps?

Joelle Casteix

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Governor’s Statement Regarding Standard & Poor’s Favorable Assessment of Hawaii’s Progress on OPEB Liability

abercrombieheaderIn a news release titled “Hawaii Moves to Tame Its OPEB Liability,” Standard and Poor’s Rating Service today acknowledged the State of Hawaii’s actions to shore up its financial position in the wake of a stronger revenue outlook. Standard & Poor’s also claimed that Hawaii’s actions will strengthen the state’s fiscal position in both the near and longer term.

The Governor stated:

“It is encouraging to hear that one of the major agencies that rates Hawaii’s credit has spoken so positively of our administration’s efforts and our state’s achievements to build and improve our financial structure. Our most significant objectives have been to build financial reserves, deal with long-term unfunded liabilities, and instill sound financial management.

“Standard & Poor’s favorable comments acknowledge Hawaii as a leader amongst states in dealing with our financial health. Upon taking office, this administration recognized what needed to be done to restore financial confidence in our state, our financial management, and our economic well-being. We have made hard decisions that have begun to put Hawaii on the right path to better financial surety.

“Standard & Poor’s is the first rating agency to publicly recognize the significance of our state’s efforts and milestone legislation that will set the groundwork for future Legislatures and government leaders in Hawaii to deal with a growing burden that, if left unaddressed, will critically cripple the future financial viability of government to provide public services. Recent events nationally illustrate how significant Hawaii’s movement to deal with its liabilities is setting Hawaii apart from other jurisdictions.

“The message is clear: Hawaii takes its financial obligations seriously.”

Link to Standard & Poor’s news release here:
http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/SP-Hawaii-Moves-To-Tame-Its-OPEB-Liability-2013-7-23.pdf

 

State Receives $937,691 Grant to Continue Healthcare Transformation Efforts

The State of Hawaii once again has an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership in healthcare transformation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that Hawaii was awarded a planning grant worth $937,691 as part of the agency’s State Innovations Model (SIM) initiative.

abercrombieheaderBeginning April 1, the state will have six months to design and submit a State Healthcare Innovation Plan, built around multipayer payment and healthcare delivery system transformation. The completed plan will then be eligible for up to $60 million in implementation funds as part of the next phase of the SIM.

“Transforming our state’s healthcare system continues to be a focus of my New Day plan, and under the leadership of Beth Giesting, the state’s healthcare transformation coordinator, we’ve made great strides over the last year,”said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “I am delighted to have these resources to build on our success and fully develop the strategies to move us toward a healthier Hawaii with services that are high-quality, cost-effective, and accessible for all of our residents.”

“We’re very excited to be a SIM recipient because the planning funds will enable us to accelerate our transformation efforts,”Giesting added. “I’d like to thank our many partners in the healthcare industry who have contributed a great deal of time and effort to move forward on the shared quest to transform our system of care. We look forward to continuing to work with these stakeholders over the next six months to design a plan we can all be proud of.”

As part of its application, the State of Hawaii identified developing a state innovation model informed by accountable care arrangements, patient-centered medical homes and value-based payment methodologies. Specific planning initiatives will include:

  • examining standardized definitions and payment approaches for patient-centered medical homes and care management services
  • analyzing opportunities for reducing waste eliminating unnecessary variation in administrative procedures among health plans
  • identifying and addressing differences among plans in how licensed providers are reimbursed
  • identifying methods for reimbursing telehealth services.

In addition to Hawaii, 15 other states were announced as awardees of the SIM Model Design planning grant. Each state will have six months to design its own State Healthcare Innovation Plan, which will then be eligible for anticipated Model Testing awards later this year. CMS expects to issue up to five such awards, each valued between $20 and $60 million.

 

State of Hawaii, Senate Staff, Sheriff Deputies Face Civil Suit

Yesterday I posted the video of Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes getting arrested for free speech at the Hawaii State Legislature…

Today it was announced that a 14 count civil suit complaint has been filed against the State of Hawaii, The Senate Staff, Sheriff Deputies.

You can view the press release here that is being released to the newspapers or you can simply see the lawsuit itself: Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes vs. Bienvenido Villalor and Others.

EPA, DOJ, State of Hawaii, Environmental Groups, Reach Agreement with the City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection and Treatment Systems

Media Release:

A comprehensive settlement has been reached with the City and County of Honolulu that will address Clean Water Act compliance at Honolulu’s wastewater collection and treatment systems, the Justice Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, Hawaii Department of Health, and three environmental groups announced today.

The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020.

Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship.

Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.

“Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the City and County of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.”

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