Tag Archives: Hawaii

Landfill, employees plead guilty to charges from 2011 spill

Source: Associated Press, July 12, 2015

Waste Management Hawaii and two of its top employees pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from a 2011 landfill spill as part of a settlement agreement with U.S. attorneys. The company pleaded guilty to two charges of violating the clean water act in the January 2011 incident. Millions of gallons of contaminated storm water had spilled from Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill into the ocean. Waste management Hawaii will pay a $400,000 criminal fine and $200,000 in restitution. The restitution will go to the Ko Olina Coast Community Association and the Malama Learning Center. …

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Waste Management of Hawaii indicted on federal charges over landfill waste runoff
Source: Janis L. Magin, Pacific Business News, April 30, 2014

Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. and two managers were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on multiple felony counts for violating the federal Clean Water Act and lying to state and federal officials after runoff from the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill caused by heavy rains more than three years ago polluted the coastal waters off Leeward Oahu. The indictment charges Waste Management of Hawaii; Joseph R. Whelan, its general manager and vice president; and Justin H. Lottig, the company’s environmental protection manager, with 13 counts, including the Clean Water Act violations, conspiracy, and making false statements to the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The charges are related to the heavy rains in December 2010 and January 2011 that flooded the 107.5-acre landfill and caused millions of gallons of stormwater that carried garbage, including large amounts of medical waste, to the coast, washing up on beaches along the coast, including Ko Olina Resort….

Public-private partnership plan for Hawaii’s correctional system

Source: Lisa Kubota, HawaiiNewsNow, March 25, 2014

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a measure to improve the state’s struggling correctional system by turning to the private sector for help. State Sen. Will Espero introduced a resolution on public-private partnerships for jails, prisons and other correctional facilities. A Senate panel listened to testimony from supporters and opponents during a hearing on Monday. “The state wouldn’t have to come up with the down payment or the money up front or float a bond. What we would do is, just like purchasing a home, we would pay back the company that built the facility over 20 or 30 years,” explained Espero, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs…

With 2 school leaders accused of crimes, charter schools face more oversight

Source: Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now, December 26, 2013

Criminal cases against several charter school leaders prompted oversight improvements for Hawaii’s 33 charter schools, the executive director of the state’s charter school commission said. December 16, state Attorney General’s office investigators seized about 70 boxes of records from Myron B. Thompson Academy downtown in a theft investigation. The state Ethics Commission charged that the sister of the charter school’s principal – Kurumi Kaapana-Aki, who’s the vice principal — was missing from school for 144 days over six years because she was off-island working her second full-time job, as a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines. Last month, Jeff Piontek, the fired head of Hawaii Technology Academy, pleaded not guilty to theft. He’s charged with stealing more than $150,000 from the state’s largest charter school. …

Roberts Hawaii, Ground Transport to bus students in Oahu

Source: School Bus Fleet, December 4, 2013

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) announced on Tuesday that Roberts Hawaii Inc. and Ground Transport Inc. have been selected to transport students in Oahu for the 2014-15 school year. … Regarding the contracts with Roberts Hawaii and Ground Transport Inc. for bus service in Oahu, officials said they were awarded on Nov. 27 following a request for proposal (RFP) process that began in July. The RFP was divided into seven clusters and 305 school bus routes on the island of Oahu, with Roberts receiving 181 routes, and Ground the other 124. In all, the combined award amount for the two companies was nearly $21 million for 2014-15. The RFP incorporated a completely revised contract performance management process that will result in more effective oversight of operations and transportation expenditures, according to the DOE. …

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Source: In The Public Interest, December 2013

From the abstract:
Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America have for decades handed over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper. Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself. As state legislatures soon reconvene, policy makers likely will consider more outsourcing proposals. Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations serves as a cautionary tale for lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Locked up and Shipped Away: Interstate Prisoner Transfers & the Private Prison Industry

Source: Holly Kirby, Grassroots Leadership, November 18, 2013

…As part of the ongoing efforts to create truly just public safety policy, this report examines state governments’ practice of transferring incarcerated people out of their home states to for-profit private prisons across the United States.

Major Findings:
– Interstate transfer of prisoners, or the practice of transferring incarcerated people to out-of-state prisons, is detrimental criminal justice policy that hurts families. The practice impedes prisoner rehabilitation by diminishing prisoners’ ties to family and community, compromising rather than enhancing the public good.
– Interstate transfers of prisoners to private for-profit prisons serve the interests of an industry that views prisoners as commodities and perpetuate our nation’s mass incarceration crisis.
– Today there are more than 10,500 state prisoners incarcerated in private for-profit prisons outside of their home states.
– Currently, four states – California, Vermont, Idaho, and Hawai’i – house prisoners in out-of-state private prisons, while West Virginia is moving forward with a plan that could move up to 400 prisoners to private out-of-state prisons.
– With little public scrutiny, state officials have pointed to overcrowding as justification for sending incarcerated people to out-of-state prisons, rather than prioritizing decarceration and sustainable alternatives to incarceration to address prison overcrowding.
– The lack of state laws regulating interstate transfers of prisoners has allowed state officials to send incarcerated people to out-of-state private prisons en masse without their consent.
– Currently, prisoners in out-of-state private facilities are held approximately 450 miles to nearly 3,000 miles from their home states.
– Using the most recent available contracts and government reports, we estimate that states will collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars this year incarcerating state prisoners in private prisons outside of their home states….

New Hawaii measures target rising school busing costs

Source: Thomas McMahon, School Bus Fleet, July 11, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie last week approved two bills that are expected to help the state more efficiently manage its student transportation system….

The two approved bills are:
• SB1082, which simplifies Section 302A-406, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The bill allows for more flexibility by the BOE and DOE regarding contract requirements. It will reportedly provide the DOE with a tool to control costs of school bus transportation by removing statutory requirements related to school bus procurement.
• SB1083, which exempts school transportation contracts from Section 103-55, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under the provisions of the bill, the DOE will not need to require school bus contractors to certify that they pay the same wages as public officers and employees. The bill also removes statutory requirements related to school bus procurement….

The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About 30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America

Source: Holly Kirby, Bob Libal, Piper Madison, Julia Morris, Kymberlie Quong Charles, Grassroots Leadership and the Public Safety and Justice Campaign, June 2013

From the blog post:
Today Grassroots Leadership released our latest report, The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About 30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America, with our partners at the Public Safety and Justice Campaign. It’s part of our yearlong campaign to tell CCA and the private prison industry that there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of private prisons.

Founded in 1983, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) gave birth to the modern for-profit private corrections industry. Over the last 30 years, the company has profited from the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” policies and found a lucrative market in the detention of immigrants. Now a multi-billion dollar corporation, CCA uses its substantial political influence to make sure its interests are met.

The Dirty 30 offers 30 examples from the company’s history intended to shine a spotlight on the grave consequences of privatization for incarcerated people, prison staff, and the public at large, and brings a critical eye to the role of for-profit prison firms in criminal justice and immigration policies. …

Chapters include:
1. Auspicious Beginnings: “Just Like Selling Hamburgers,” CCA Opens First Detention Center in Houston, TX
2. A “Groundbreaking” Example of Prison Privatization: Squalor and Violence at Lake Erie Correctional Institution
3. Keeping Costs Low and Profits High Through Employee Mistreatment
4. A Disturbing Culture of Staff Misconduct
5. A Testament to Ineptitude: Escapes and Mistaken Releases
6. Riots Spiral Out Of Control
7. Denial and Death: Cutting Operational Costs Through Basic Medical Care
8. “Gold Star” Accreditation and “Impartial” Research
9. Tax Loopholes and Avoidance
10. UK Aspirations: Unlawful Death and a Violent Legacy
11. Fines, Failures and Scandal: Chased Out Of Australia
12. CCA Attempts Takeover of Entire Tennessee Prison System
13. Columbia Training Center Juvenile Abuse
14. 1990s REIT Disaster and Near Bankruptcy
15. CCA, A True Community Player
16. Oklahoma: Tulsa Takes Back Its County Jail
17. “Our Country Should Be Ashamed”: The Idaho ‘Gladiator School’
18. CCA Lobbies Against Transparency
19. CCA and ALEC’s Conservative Agenda
20. The Revolving Door: Insider Connections Win Big Contracts for CCA
21. CCA Helps Develop the Detention Business, Profits from Arizona’s Immigration Law SB1070
22. Family Detention and Sexual Abuse at Hutto
23. “It’s Been A Nightmare”: Violence and Death at Youngstown
24. Securing Beds in Colorado
25. Mismanagement and Violence at the Kit Carson Correctional Facility
26. The Death of Estelle Richardson
27. Paving the Schools-to-Prison Pipeline
28. Hawaii Women Removed from Otter Creek in Kentucky After Sexual Assaults
29. Murders at Arizona’s Saguaro Correctional Center
30. “No baby should be born in a toilet in prison”: Indifference Leads to Death at Dawson State Jail in Texas

City eliminates private ambulance service contract

Source: Gordon Y.K. Pang, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, April 5, 2013
(subscription required)

A contract for a 12-hour-a-day ambulance service operating out of Halawa has been cut for budgetary reasons, but city Emergency Services Director Mark Rigg said he expects the void to be filled by next month.

The 12-hour-a-day ambulance, dubbed “Life 220,” had been provided by private contractor American Medical Response Hawaii under a contract with the city since last summer. The closure of the Hawaii Medical Centers in Ewa and Li­liha caused the city’s ambulances to have to travel farther to other hospitals, and the contracted vehicle helped fill in where there were gaps in service.

An analysis done by an EMS employee showed the Halawa ambulance answered 818 calls from July 1 to Dec. 31.

The city was paying AMR $1,500 a day for Life 220, or about $45,000 a month. It is the only one of the city’s 21 ambulances to be under contract.

Panel OKs hospital privatization bill

Source: Associated Press, March 16, 2013

Members of the Hawaii Senate Health Committee have approved a bill that would explore whether some of the state’s public hospitals should become private….

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Panel endorses privatization for public hospitals
Source: Brian Perry, Maui News, February 15, 2013

The state Senate Health Committee recommended passage this week of a bill to privatize public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and the Lanai Community Hospital. But the panel advanced the measure after deleting a provision that would have made hospital employees private instead of public civil service employees, according to West and South Maui Sen. Roz Baker, the committee’s vice chairwoman. … Last week, a House version of the same bill came under withering attack from public employees and union leaders who maintained that privatizing the state’s hospitals was a bad idea because a private entity would put profits ahead of public employees and health services.

Hospitals deal promising but tread carefully
Source: Editorial, Star Advertiser, February 16, 2013

Hawaii Legislature considers privatizing hospitals
Source: Anita Hofschneider, Associated Press, February 15, 2013

Bill to privatize public hospitals draws fire
Source: Brian Perry, Maui News, February 10, 2013

A bill to privatize public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, came under fire last week from public union leaders and members, and two state House committees recommended establishing a nine-member task force to study the proposal’s feasibility.

During a hearing at the state Capitol on Wednesday, members of the House Health and Labor & Public Employment committees received written testimony from more than 135 testifiers, with 26 in support of House Bill 1483 and 110 opposed.

The bill seeks lawmakers’ approval of a measure to pave the way for turning management of Neighbor Island hospitals from the state’s Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to a private nonprofit. The bill doesn’t name Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital systems, but the Hawaii Health Systems Maui Regional System Board of Directors has been in discussions with Banner since at least summer of last year….

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Arizona nonprofit wants to take over 8 Hawaii public hospitals
Source: Keoki Kerr, Rick Daysog, HawaiiNewsNow, January 11, 2013

The state is in discussions with an Arizona nonprofit hospital chain that’s interested in taking over operations of eight public hospitals on Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii News Now learned Friday. It’s a development that could have major implications for medical care for tens of thousands of neighbor island residents and affect the employment of thousands of hospital employees.

Sources said the Phoenix-based nonprofit Banner Health has made an “initial conceptual offer” to the state to take over operations, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital. Other hospitals whose operations could be transferred to Banner from the state are in Kau, Kohala, Hamakua, Kula and on the island of Lanai. …

…Sources said under the deal proposed by Banner, the company would not pay the state any rent for the hospital facilities and the state would guarantee an annual management fee to Banner. … Officials said under its initial offer, Banner wanted to continue receiving the eight hospitals’ share of subsidies from the state — worth tens of millions — for the first few years and transition to no subsidy after about seven or eight years. … Privately, some state officials question whether the deal is good for taxpayers, since sources said Banner Health wants the state to take on hundreds of millions of dollars to cover vacation, sick leave, and retirement benefits of existing hospital employees. ..