Six Politicians Already Running for Lt Governor
SA: At least a half-dozen politicians are already eyeing the race for Hawaii lieutenant governor next year, including Maui’s mayor and a number of state legislators….
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, whose term ends next year, has already said publicly that he plans to run for the seat currently occupied by Shan Tsutsui. State Sen. Josh Green (D, Naalehu-Kailua-Kona) also confirmed last week his plans to run….
Those considering a bid for lieutenant governor include former House Speaker Joe Souki (D, Waihee-Waiehu-Wailuku), Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) and Rep. Kaniela Ing (D, South Maui). Sen. Jill Tokuda (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) is also a possible contender, though she says she’s also considering the governor’s race….
Tsutsui is looking at a run for Maui mayor next year instead, in which case he said he planned to step down early as lieutenant governor to campaign. Bowing out early could influence who wins his seat next year.
The Senate president, currently Ron Kouchi, would be offered the position of lieutenant governor, in accordance with the state Constitution, if the post is left vacant before the election. However, Kouchi has said he isn’t interested. If he were to decline the post, it would then be offered to the House speaker, currently Scott Saiki. Saiki also says he isn’t interested in taking over as lieutenant governor.
Attorney General Doug Chin would be next in line, but declined to comment on whether he would consider stepping in….
read … No. 2 job has isle officials making plans to campaign
Years Later, Democrats Become Dimly Aware Tulsi Gabbard is a Joke Played on them
CB: …Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s star has been rising on the mainland, where she is popping up on lists of possible presidential contenders in 2020. But her popularity has fallen here at home.
Two years ago, 64 percent of statewide respondents to a Honolulu Civil Beat poll approved of Gabbard’s performance. A similar poll conducted last month found that her job approval rating had dropped to about 50 percent, after she drew criticism for meeting with Donald Trump before his inauguration and for visiting Syria surreptitiously.
She was viewed negatively by 29 percent of poll respondents, while 21 percent were unsure.
And in a finding that sets her far apart from the other members of Hawaii’s congregational delegation, Gabbard had almost the same statewide approval rating from Republicans (48 percent) as from Democrats (49 percent)….
read … Tulsi Gabbard’s Surprising Plunge In Hawaii
State Bureaucracy: Marijuana Rots, Dope Dealers Lose $10K a Month Waiting to Open
SA: …“It’s been an expensive endeavor, without a doubt,” said Teri Freitas Gorman, spokeswoman for Maui Grown Therapies.
Maui Grown, Aloha Green and Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC have marijuana ready to sell. A fourth company, Manoa Botanicals LLC, is growing pot but hasn’t harvested it yet.
Patients and dispensaries are “a little frustrated” with how long it’s taking to open, said Manoa Botanicals CEO Brian Goldstein. He has leased property at 1308 Young St. in the former Krazy Karaoke space for his first dispensary.
“We’re very hopeful that we’re going to be able to open and we’ll be serving qualified patients certainly by later this year,” Goldstein said. “There’s a lot of curiosity about when the dispensaries are going to open. There’s some frustration in the community. We totally understand. In this industry, without a doubt between the dispensaries and labs, we’re losing well over a million dollars a month.”
The companies paid the Health Department $50,000 each to renew their dispensary licenses, which were set to expire May 31. That’s in addition to the initial licensing fee of $75,000.
“All eight renewed, which is $400,000, and none of us have sold anything,” said Cho of Aloha Green, which has about 30 employees. “Every day we’re still operating a business, and on top of the overhead, cost of salaries, rent and utilities, every licensee is under some sort of construction. Not only are we continuing to spend money, but there’s no cash flow. These were not part of our original projections. So it’s been very difficult not only for us, but for all of the dispensaries. Every month we’re losing tens of thousands of dollars….
“It’s cured, and it’s pretty much ready for sale,” he said. “There’s a way to preserve it, and that will be just fine for consumers for the next two months. We can preserve for quite some time, not forever.”….
read … State Bureaucracy Even Makes Marijuana Unprofitable
City sweeps homeless from state-owned Nimitz medians
SA: …A special city clean-up crew that normally clears homeless encampments from city sidewalks expanded its duties this morning to break down a knot of tents and structures on grassy medians along state-owned Nimitz Highway.
A convoy of nine city trucks and police vehicles moved into Awa Street just at 8:30 a.m. without notice, but gave several homeless occupants 30 minutes to remove personal items before crews began hauling out what remained, including a bucket full of human waste.
The move by the city represents a further expansion of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “compassionate disruption” philosophy to clear tents and structures from the grassy medians along Nimitz Highway that belong to the state Department of Transportation and came to represent one of the first impressions for tourists heading into Waikiki from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport….
Honolulu police Cpl. Leland Cadoy, who escorts the clean-up crew, said he was greeted with the same question he’s received before from homeless occupants (who continually refuse to accept shelter). “When can we come back?”….
Caldwell previously told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the new approach, without the usual 24-hour notice, was in response to an imminent “health and safety issue” because the homeless were living amid one of Honolulu’s busiest traffic corridors. (Cue ACLU)
Big Q: Does Iolani Palace need more perimeter security to deter vandalism?
read … City sweeps homeless from state-owned Nimitz medians
City Council bills would Impose 10-cent Bag Tax
SA: Honolulu City Council members Wednesday will consider two different versions of a bill aimed at closing loopholes in Oahu’s existing plastic bag ban: one supported by business interests and the other by environmental groups. (Both involve a 10-cent bag tax.)
The latest version of Bill 59 (2016) would require retailers to charge customers at least 10 cents for every reusable plastic or recyclable paper bag issued at checkout, with the proceeds going back to the business. Introduced by Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, chairwoman of the Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee, the draft also specifies that the city auditor is to submit to the Council by Jan. 1, 2019, a report evaluating the bag fee’s effectiveness.
A different version being offered by Honolulu City Councilman Brandon Elefante, original author of the bill, also would require merchants to charge 10 cents for plastic or paper bags distributed at checkout. But it calls for plastic bags to be phased out entirely by Jan. 1, 2020, leaving paper bags as an option…. (Because we all know that enviros hate trees and they want us to chop down lots of them.)
read … City Council bills would shut bag-ban loopholes
Richest islanders under the sun go with solar
SA: Hawaii’s wealthy make up the majority of residents who have rooftop solar, and two programs the state created to change that are floundering.
Gov. David Ige signed a law to create a community solar program in 2015. The program would help renters and low-income families benefit from solar, but the details of the program are still being debated and it will take at least six months to implement once all the parties agree to a plan.
The second was a loan program created by the state in 2013 to help make energy more affordable for low-income families. The Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, program raised roughly $150 million through a bond sale but has lent less than 2 percent of the funds to date — missing the original goal to have issued all of the funds by the end of November 2016.
Meanwhile, the only incentives that have seen success have gone primarily to the wealthy, according to state Chief Economist Eugene Tian.
“The higher the household income, the more PV installation,” Tian said.
From 2011 to 2014 some 43 percent of residents who claimed the state’s renewable-energy tax credit made more than $100,000, an income bracket that accounts for 14 percent of the population….
read … Richest islanders under the sun go with solar
With NextEra Gone -- O`ahu May Get 100 Megawatts of New Solar
IM: PUC is pushing for battery storage so Elon Musk gets a cut…. He’s so deserving.
read … O`ahu May Get 100 Megawatts of New Solar
$70/ Day for Elder Care—Unionization Next
S: …a new elder-care bill that recently passed both chambers of the Hawaii legislature looks poised to make it all the way into law. Advocates say the program it establishes will help people live up to the responsibility Hawaiians feel for their kupuna, rather than trying to replace the strong existing tradition of elder care.
If Gov. David Ige signs this legislation, people who work at least 30 hours a week outside the home and serve their kupuna as primary caregivers will be eligible for up to $70 a day in help from trained home aides. The Kupuna Caregiver Assistance Program would help a family caregiver continue to work outside the home, get some necessary breaks in caregiving work, and give her the money to pay a fair wage to the care workers she hires. It’s an important step toward meeting the needs of a fast-aging population and the family members who are expected—but too often financially unequipped—to shoulder the burden.
read … Slate