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Sunday, May 10, 2015
May 10, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:36 PM :: 3020 Views

Laulima not A'ole: Restoring Our Roots

Whose Tax Is It, Anyway? (Part 2)

Court Challenge to Guam’s race-based plebiscite will go Forward

OHA Gives Away $7.4M in Grants

Women in Hawaii: Poverty and Opportunity

Could Private Exchanges Save Health Care?

Facts not Ideology

Star-Adv: Let's Start Talking about Recreational Marijuana Now

SA: ...Judging by the outcome of this past legislative session — the passage of House Bill 321, an expansive effort to ramp up distribution fairly readily — it seems plain that the state is positioning itself for a full legalization debate when session reconvenes next year....  (Translation: 'Medical' marijuana was just like gay civil unions--a strategy to get to full legalization.)

When medical marijuana became legal, Hawaii was at the front of the pack among states liberalizing controls of the drug, moving first to allow its use for relief of pain and other physical symptoms. Now the long-awaited authorization of dispensaries for the delivery of marijuana to those holding a medical prescription has been overtaken by decisions in other states to legalize it entirely. 

(Translation: We at the Star-Adv want to be back in the vanguard of 'change.'  History has a line of march and you foot-draggers are holding us back from our place at the head of that line.  Hawaii is a platform for our glorification.) 

it falls to state health officials to design administrative rules that can impose sufficiently rigorous quality controls and oversight.

They have a year to accomplish that, before the dispensaries start opening July 1, 2016.

The other element is public participation in the process going forward. Public hearings on rulemaking will be part of that, but they should be focused on setting standards for medicinal (smirk wink wink) dosage  (visualize a bunch of drunks setting standards for alcohol regulation)....

a separate public conversation needs to begin on the next steps that will confront the state, given that the distributive infrastructure is being set in place: Should Hawaii move on to legalize, or decriminalize, marijuana? ...

Some, such as (former cocaine dealer) Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani 'Powdernose' English, asserted that legalization of recreational marijuana use is the "next step for Hawaii." English said leadership would address it in the next session....

this would be a new industry, one that could leave a deep imprint through many layers of island society. (Imprint: The more people are doped up the more they will go along with whatever we at the Star-Adv suggest.)

read ... Did you really think they were serious about 'medical'?

Ige Helped Write Legislation on HHSC, Health Connector

Borreca: On several important pieces of legislation, Ige had a hand in actually writing the bills under consideration by the House and Senate.

"It was a very successful session for this administration and the Legislature. It was a joint effort," said Ige at a news conference last week.

"This shows what we can do when we are working together," Ige added, pointing to the changes to the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. and the Maui Memorial Hospital privatization bills as "an effort to find common ground and move the bills forward."

Ige explained that on the Maui hospital bill, for instance, although his administration had been testifying on the bill, the legislative committees were not including the administration's views.

"So I just asked them to take a step back. We agreed on the outcome and we agreed to get the best bill we could," Ige said, adding that his regular meetings with House and Senate leadership and major committee chairpeople paved the way for his legislative victories.

Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Committee chairwoman, said Ige met every week with the House and Senate money committee leaders....

in comparison to Abercrombie who bellowed at Democrats at a 2011 convention to "Stop the excuses; stop walking around as if you're not listening to anybody else except yourselves," Ige, by listening, is being heard....

read ... New governor, new way to work with Legislature

Solar Shifts $53M in Costs to Others 

SA: ...HECO has said home-based photovoltaic systems placed an additional $53 million burden on the shoulders of nonsolar customers in 2014. That number does not include the excess power HECO gets from solar customers, the utility said....

Hawaiian Electric Co. received $1.7 million worth of "free" power from rooftop solar customers in 2013.

read ... $53M - $1.7M = $51.3M

BOE is considering a plan to make out-of-school suspensions a last resort

SA: The state Board of Education is considering a new school discipline policy that promotes keeping delinquent students in school and moves the system away from a long-standing zero-tolerance stance that relies on out-of-school suspensions as a common form of punishment.

Hawaii youth advocates say too many public school students are being punished with suspensions for minor offenses — a tactic they argue isn't effective and often steers at-risk youth into the criminal justice system.

"There's no question that there are kids that end up in the criminal justice system that would not otherwise end up there had they not been removed from their educational environment," said Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar, who served as an adviser on the new policy.

Some 6,345 students were suspended statewide last year, accounting for 10,530 suspensions issued in the 2013-14 school year. That averages out to roughly 60 suspensions per school day. Of those suspensions, 1,029 resulted in student arrests on campuses.

Kollar and Oahu Family Court Judge Paul Murakami told BOE members last week that out-of-school suspensions should be minimized in favor of behavioral supports that help keep students on track academically. They contend schools are the safest place for these students.

"For those of you in school administration, it's only a suspension," Murakami said. "But that's the start of a slippery slope, a very steep, slippery slope."

read ... Discipline

Nago Designated At-Will Employee Subject to Post Election Review

AP: People weren't too happy after the 2014 elections, when a slew of ballots were misplaced in Maui. In addition, a tropical storm downed trees on the Big Island, blocking the route to the polls for many who weren't given a second chance to vote. A number of bills were introduced to address the problem, and one emerged that would designate that the chief elections officer is an at-will employee subject to a performance evaluation two months after an election.

read ... Election Reform

Shapiro: Drop Scheme to Build Obama 'Center' at Kakaako

Shapiro: Plans being coordinated by the University of Hawaii to seek some kind of secondary presidential center as a consolation prize should be viewed with a leery eye given greater needs for public resources.

The Hawaii library proposal, supported by local Democratic politicians and educational institutions, offered Obama 8 acres of prime Kakaako waterfront land for an archive, museum, conference center, K-12 leadership academy and UH Center for Community Organizing....

it can't be justified to offer the same Kakaako property and state support for a lesser retreat, institute or conference center that wouldn't carry the same economic or cultural benefit.

There are better core uses for limited state resources, especially at the university, which is in no position to take on a vanity project as it struggles with a crumbling main campus, a deficit-ridden athletic program, a cancer institute in crisis and discord over the Daniel Inouye Center....

read ... Move On

Lower property tax rates in Maui council budget proposal

MN: Lower real property tax rates were ... supported by committee members, mainly due to a 13.5 percent increase in overall property values....

read ... Lower Taxes

Bill 32 Reform 'Residential A' Tax Cliff 

SA: ...Last June, the city applied a flat rate of $6 per $1,000 of assessed value to this class, which was much higher than the existing residential rate of $3.50 per $1,000. In so doing, the city caused an unfair tax of $2,500 for 7,000 second-home and investor owners.

One investor with a property assessed at $999,999 paid $3,500 in taxes, while a second investor with a property in the same zoning and use with an assessed value of just

$1 more -- at $1 million -- paid $6,000 in taxes. This $2,500 Residential A tax differential is arbitrary, discriminatory and placed these taxpayers at a competitive disadvantage. Some owners will recover this cost by passing it on to their tenants, e.g., $200 or more per month.

The city stated that in 2015, 1,000 more properties were assessed at or above $1 million and fell off this cliff. These taxpayers will pay $2,500 more in tax on a small increase in their assessed value unless the City Council adopts Bill 32.

If the Council does nothing, 1,000 more taxpayers will have an unpleasant surprise in their July bill.

Fortunately, Bill 32 is a simple solution that would raise the same amount of revenue.

Bill 32 would adopt the 2014 Real Property Tax Advisory Commission's (RPTAC) recommended solution of a graduated two-rate plan, similar to the income tax schedule.

The residential rate of $3.50 would apply to the first $999,999 of assessed value for all properties in the same use and zoning.

A second "Residential A" rate would apply on values above $1 million, with this rate set to be revenue neutral, e.g., $9.08 per $1,000 assessed value in 2014.

read ... Cliff

Truth-Challenged Anti-GMO Activists Hype Dust Damages

KE: A federal jury has ordered DuPont-Pioneer to pay $507,090 in damages due to dust blowing from its Kauai agricultural fields. The money will be shared by 15 Waimea residents and attorneys Kyle Smith and Gerard Jervis.

The lawsuit did not address whether the dust contained pesticides or caused any health impacts.

But Councilman Gary Hooser wasted no time in posting a blog describing it as “vast amounts of he pesticide laden dust.” ....

Though Gary and anti-GMO activists are already hyping its significance in fighting the biotech companies, the verdict was actually quite narrow. You can read it here.

Meanwhile, Gary's truth-challenged visit to the Syngenta shareholder's meeting in Switzerland prompted Council Chair Mel Rapozo to send the company a letter distancing the Council from its anti-GMO colleague. Mel wrote:

Mr. Hooser's statements were not made on behalf of the Council body, and were not in any way officially directed or sanctioned by the Council.

Mel also clarified that Gary's plea for Syngenta to follow Kauai County's laws had no basis in reality. Judge Barry Kurren declared Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 invalid, and ordered the county not to enforce it, Mel wrote. That decision is currently under appeal.

[T]herefore the law remains invalid and has not taken effect. Accordingly, Syngenta could not possibly be in violation of the law.

Allan Parachini makes a valid point in today's The Garden Island that the anti-GMO movement essentially conceded the Hawaii legal fight by seeking Legislative action giving counties the right to regulate pesticides and GMOs. Because if the counties already have that right, as anti-GMO attorneys argue, why would they need the Lege to specifically give it to them?

At any rate, their legislative efforts failed entirely. None of the bills pushed by the anti-GMO movement survived the session.

Which is why the Hawaii branch of the mainland-based Center for Food Safety is returning to its time-worn strategy: fear-mongering. The anti-GMO group is releasing “Pesticides in Paradise,” a report that purports to “establishe[s] the relationship between pesticide use, genetically engineered field test sites and public health risks in Hawaii....

read ... Musings: Dusty and Dusted

Alleged victim speaks about game room attack

HNN:  "He was ringing the doorbell at first, then he started pounding on the door. That's when they opened it and by that time he was already mad," says Franson.  Morre and two other Crime Reduction Unit officers waited for about 45 seconds for the door to open. They were looking for someone, who wasn't there and that apparently added to Morre's frustration.

Morre immediately started attacking Jordan Topinio.

"At first he just said, to take off his hat. That's when he hit his hat off and then he kicked him, but he didn't really say anything like why he kicked him," says Franson.

In the video Morre is also seen pointing at one of the security cameras.

"He (said) that he should break all these cameras in here because they can see who it is at the door before they open it... so they should have known to open the door quick since he was out there."

After that, Morre turns toward Franson who is sitting next to him. Slapping, punching and kicking Franson.

"I was shocked. I didn't see it coming but I knew there was nothing I could do. So I just sat there."

Morre then turned his attention back toward Jordan Topinio, kicking him then throwing a chair at him. Topinio had to go to the hospital and get stitches.

read ... Attack

Some Question Bag Ban

SA: Kailua's new Target store, which opened in March. Because the city's new plastic ban was slated to begin only a few months later, July 1, executives figured they'd plunge right in. None of the flimsy bags so commonly in use are found at the check stand, where instead shoppers are asked if they need to buy one of the woven reusable bags sold for 99 cents, or have brought their own.

"We do have those individuals who could be a little shocked that we are completely bagless, but we accommodate them as best we can." So far, Target hasn't exercised the option to stock paper bags, he added, "but we're more than willing to help them carry out their groceries."

SA: Rules on plastic bags vary by county

read ... Questions

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