Hawaii The 2nd-Least Tax-Friendly State in the U.S.
Judge Upholds Gorak for PUC
E-W Center Names New President
GOP Endorses Ostrov in CD1 Special Election
List of Road and Park Closures for Waikiki Eco-Conference
Formby’s First Act: Grab $50M Rail Loan from City
KHON: …the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is about to borrow $50 million in short-term bond money, as stated in a notice from acting executive director Mike Formby….
An earlier request had HART borrowing $20 million by July to keep above a required minimum cash balance. (Learn more about the process here.)
But that was put off then, and now the borrow amount has more than doubled.
The federal government is holding off releasing the remaining half of its $1.5 billion pledge until a new financial plan is completed.
HART staff, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City Council chairman Ernie Martin, and others head to San Francisco for a meeting with Federal Transit Administration on the topic early next week….
read … HART’s city credit draw now at $50 million, more than double previous estimate
AG subpoenas 13 in Kenoi Case; Five are granted immunity
HTH: Five current or former high-level Hawaii County officials will receive immunity for their testimony in the upcoming theft trial of Mayor Billy Kenoi, according to court records.
The five are Managing Director Randy Kurohara; former Managing Director Bill Takaba; Finance Director Deanna Sako; former Finance Director Nancy Crawford; and Paulette Wilson, also known as Paulette Cainglit, an executive assistant to Kenoi. They are among 13 people who have been subpoenaed as prosecution witnesses by Deputy Attorney General Kevin Takata.
Records indicate orders have been signed granting the five transactional immunity, the broadest form of immunity to compel testimony, which is also known as “total” or “blanket” immunity. According to the legal website nolo.com, transactional immunity offers “complete protection from future prosecution for any matter mentioned in the immunized testimony.”…
Other current and former county officials subpoenaed by Takata include Nancy Kelly, the budget administrator; Melody Parker, a deputy corporation counsel; and Kevin Dayton, a Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter and formerly a Kenoi executive assistant.
Others on the prosecution’s subpoena list are: Brian Moriki, an assistant vice president and manager of the records management department of First Hawaiian Bank; Daniel Hanagami, the attorney general’s chief investigator; Boyd Sakai, an investigator for the attorney general; Nancy Cook Lauer, the West Hawaii Today reporter who first reported about Kenoi’s misuse of his pCard; and Daniel K. Kailiawa….
Best Comment: “Where’s Wally? Wally Lau, a man who has helped manage the daily operations of the Hawaii County administration for the past seven years, who resigned 2016 to run for mayor, got overlooked and is conspicuously missing from the list of people who are being called to testify in this case. Unbelievable yet believable.…”
read … Kenoi Case
HPD Cop Saved by Raid on Massage Parlor
HNN: …Officer Maulia Labarre was arrested in April for allegedly offering to help a prostitute get out of an arrest in exchange for sex.
But sources say the state Attorney General's office will not pursue criminal charges against Labarre….
The Honolulu Police Department put Labarre, a former University of Hawaii men's volleyball player, on unpaid leave after the arrest and the state Attorney General's office issued a news release saying Labarre was facing charges of attempted bribery, prostitution and unlawful use of a computer.
But those charges were never filed.
HPD still has an internal affairs investigation open and Labarre remains on restricted duty. (Translation: He’s still on the payroll.)
Sources say the prostitute he is accused of trying to bribe is the same woman who helped the city prosecutor's office bring down the GoGo Spa massage parlor in a prostitution raid this week….
read … Saved
Planned Parenthood Teams up With Hawaii Anti-GMO activists
KE: It was really disturbing to see that Planned Parenthood Hawaii is a supporter of Gary Hooser's HAPA Kuleana Academy….
While I've always backed PP because of the low-cost birth control and health services it provides, it's hard to see how the Kuleana Academy fits its mission statement.
Is Planned Parenthood Hawaii truly so awash in funds that it can afford to give money to HAPA? Are its donors apprised that their contributions are diverted to causes they may not support?
read … Musings: All About PR
HECO Threw Solar Contract to Failing High-Tech Schemers
IM: …Nine years ago HECO submitted an application to the Commission to install solar on the roof of their Archer Substation located adjacent to their Ward Street offices.
HECO noted then that there are “many positive attributes are associated with PV technology, including having zero emissions of noise and air pollutants, minimal O&M, the ability to use unused rooftop spaces, and no use of fossil fuels.”
HECO engaged in informal talks with Sun Edison, Provision Technologies, Hoku Scientific, Renewable Energy Services, Energy Industries, Bank of Hawaii, and Solar Design Associates.
HECO issued a Request for Proposal, conducted a site visit with 25 representatives from 17 companies, answered written questions by bidders, and selected Hoku Solar to build a 167 kWdc PV system on the HECO roof.
The Commission approved the application on May 13, 2008.
HECO informed the Commission on July 1, 2010, that the project was dead.
“The photovoltaic ("PV") project targeted for installation at Hawaiian Electric's Archer Substation was not constructed by Hoku Solar due to its inability to secure financing for the project” ….
Flashback: Final Act 221: Hoku Plant Cut Up, Pieces Auctioned off
read … Is HECO Seeking to Game Solar Installations?
Operator of Molokai ferry seeks to shut down service
MN: …Despite the changes and the company's "best efforts to operate efficiently, purchasing fuel at reduced rates and other cost-cutting," it continued to lose money due to declining ridership and competition from airlines, according to the PUC filing. (Jung said that total monthly passenger numbers dropped from 1,691 in January to 859 in July.)
He reported losses of about $200,000 for 2015, but noted they were offset by a $105,000 subsidy from the county.
Aside from the one-time subsidy, the ferry has received little financial help in recent years. The ferry began operations in 1987 at the prodding of then-Gov. John Waihee, who helped subsidize commuter fares with a $30,000 monthly stipend. Those subsidies ended in 1995.
"The bottom line is that we're a regulated carrier with very strict and onerous requirements and with no subsidies or grants," Jung said. "We're competing with airlines, who are unregulated and they can change their flight schedules on an hourly basis." (Idea: PUC should stop regulating ferry services in Hawaii.)
Jung published a letter Thursday on the company's website detailing the planned closure. He anticipates it will occur in the next few weeks. On Friday, though, he clarified that he has "no idea" how long the PUC will take with its decision and said that news of the closure will "accentuate losses." ….
read … Shut Down
Syngenta Giving up 847 Acres on Kauai
KGI: There could be more land available for diversified agriculture (a dust bowl) on Kauai’s Westside if a Syngenta request to withdraw 847 acres of land from what they lease from the state is approved.
If granted, the request would bring the total amount of land leased from various owners on the Westside down to roughly 2,300 acres.
“Our request was based on a projection of our operational needs for acreage for the next few years,” said Syngenta spokeswoman Beth Tokioka. “We’ve made some adjustments to be more efficident, resulting in a reduction.”
Syngenta has a lease with the state on their land through 2027.
Scott Enright, member of the board of directors for the Agribusiness Development Corporation, said the board deferred making a ruling on the request when it came up in their Wednesday meeting because Syngenta representation wasn’t present.
“They’re giving up a significant piece,” Enright said. “They’ve got another 10 years left and they’re asking to give it up early, so I thought the board should hear what the business strategy is going forward.”
read … Dust
Feminists Complain Study Makes Hawaii Wymyn Look Like They’re not Victimy Enough
HTH: …Some women’s rights advocates question the WalletHub study for its lack of analysis. Kathy Ferguson, University of Hawaii women studies professor who contributed to a question-answer portion of the WalletHub study, said she’d like to see more information about the jobs sampled and “what life is like for the people who actually do them.” …
Farrah Marie-Gomes, chairwoman for the Hawaii County Committee on the Status of Women, said she wanted to know if Hawaii’s cost of living was factored into the pay gap score. And she said there are other issues just as important as the pay gap — for example, low voter turnout statewide. Women’s Equality Day was originally established to commemorate female suffrage, she added….
“I take these kinds of results with a grain of salt,” Marie-Gomes said. “… I do know we have made some gains in Hawaii; I wouldn’t call them significant gains, but they’ve been steady gains, and it’s something we need to stay focused on.”….
Background: Women’s Equality: Hawaii #1 in USA
read … Elevate Yourself--Be a Victim