Grassroot President Akina Discusses Car Wash “Boondoggle” on Hawaii News Now

Grassroot President Akina Discusses Car Wash “Boondoggle” on Hawaii News Now

Lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the city and state government is a dirty business … literally. Hawaii New Now reporter Rick Daysog reports on a car wash that was built to clean Honolulu’s refuse trucks. Or would have, had it ever worked. Instead, taxpayers are out more than a quarter of a million dollar for a car wash system, paid for more than a decade ago, that was inoperable from the start. Daysog spoke to Grassroot President Keli’i Akina about the debacle. Back in 2001, the city poured nearly a quarter of a million dollars into upgrading the vehicle wash facility at the city’s Keehi Transfer Station. It hasn’t worked since.   “The cost is exorbitant because it’s money belonging to the taxpayer. There’s no accountability, no follow through,” said Kelii Akina, CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.   The vehicle wash facility is a basketball court-sized automated car wash for the city’s refuse trucks and trailers. It was supposed to be a state-of-the-art, ultra green facility that recycles its own water and cleaning fluids. Not only did the city spend money on a car wash that never worked, but they could not get the original contractor to fix it. Nor could they even give a true an accurate accounting of what had gone wrong: Hawaii News Now asked for the records for the entire project. But an official told us the rest of the file could not be located.   “In the private sector, if someone failed to keep records, keep track of a warranty and hold third parties responsible, they’d be fired,”...
Grassroot Discusses Campaign Spending on HNN

Grassroot Discusses Campaign Spending on HNN

Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina recently appeared on Hawaii News Now to discuss the investigation into Rep. Romy Cachola’s campaign spending irregularities. The inquiry by the state Campaign Spending Commission is looking into a number of questionable expenses by Rep. Cachola over the course of his political career, including the purchase of a Nissan Pathfinder, and various expenditures on food, gas, and car insurance. Standing up for government accountability and the ethical duty that politicians have to their constituents, Dr. Akina emphasized that, “the public is not well served when politicians use campaign funds as a personal expense account.” Watch the video of the news report below or go here for the full story. Hawaii News Now - KGMB and...
Talking Turkey about Hawaii’s Spending

Talking Turkey about Hawaii’s Spending

By Malia Hill No one is going to faint from shock when I mention that Hawaii state spending for fiscal year 2012 outstripped income yet again, making us one of Truth in Accounting’s “turkey states”—that’s the thirteen states that overspent their income in 2012 despite the recovering economy. There’s some comfort to be found in the fact that we’re not the biggest turkey in the bunch. That dubious distinction goes to New Jersey, which ended up more than $5 billion in the red, though some of that is likely related to the effects of Super Storm Sandy. Hawaii is one of the smaller states, but with a net revenue of -.39 billion dollars, determined to overspend like a much larger one. We’re like the Rudy of poor state fiscal planning. And we’re consistent. Sheila Weinberg, CEO of Truth in Accounting states that, “Since 2009 when we began analyzing state liabilities and assets available to pay debt, Hawaii has been our worst ‘Sinkhole State’ every year.  Each Hawaii taxpayer’s share of state debt was $41,300 at the end of fiscal year 2012.  The lack of truth and transparency in the budget process allows elected officials to claim they are “balancing” the budget, as required by law, and over-spend at the same time.” Right. The unfunded liabilities. It’s funny how every analysis of our state economy and budget always comes back to the unfunded liabilities. This particular elephant in the room of our political discourse has grown big enough that we’re now compelled to acknowledge it, but too few people are willing to point out that there shouldn’t be an elephant...
Government Contract Scandal: Grassroot Institute President Interviewed by Hawaii News Now

Government Contract Scandal: Grassroot Institute President Interviewed by Hawaii News Now

Grassroot Institute president Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. was recently interviewed by Hawaii News Now concerning allegations that a civilian Naval procurement officer had steered millions of dollars in contract funds to a firm he and his wife own.  According to Dr. Akina, “Someone who has the ability to use taxpayer dollars and then steer them to himself, is clearly in a position of conflict of interest.”  Grassroot Institute’s analysis was sought out by investigative reporter Rick Daysog in light of the Institute’s role as a “government watchdog.”  When asked what the harm of corrupt contracting practices is, Akina responded,  “Unfortunately, the people lose out altogether. The taxpayers lose out because the only people who make money are those with  privilege and access to power.  That’s one of the reasons [Hawaii’s] prices are so high.”  Watch the television news report here. Hawaii News Now – KGMB and...
Robert Thomas Talks To Grassroot: Life, Liberty and Property!

Robert Thomas Talks To Grassroot: Life, Liberty and Property!

Attorney Robert Thomas of Pacific Legal Foundation and Grassroot president Dr. Keli’i Akina discuss the nature of individual rights and the role of property.  Thomas holds the classical view that property rights are at the heart of all rights.  In a conversation ranging from the great ideas of America’s founders to current eminent domain conflicts, Thomas asserts that rights are “inalienable” and exist prior to the laws of any nation. The discussion concludes with an analysis of why Thomas partnered with Grassroot Institute and other Policy think tanks to defend the water rights of the City of Tombstone, Arizona in a case against the Federal Government.  To hear why that case is relevant to personal freedom and limited, accountable government, values which both Grassroot Institute and Robert Thomas promote, view the complete conversation...