Ige Appoints Pro-Rail Thug to HCDA
$2.4B Tax Hike: How They Voted
Risky, Overused Medications Prescribed Far Less Often in the Aloha State
Hawaii is woefully vulnerable to a North Korean nuclear attack
Mafia Hanabusa announces 2018 governor run
KHON: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa announced Friday that she will be filing the papers to establish the campaign committee “Hanabusa for Governor.” ….
According to a press release, Hanabusa’s candidacy “will offer a choice to the voters of someone who is a fighter, leader and able to tackle difficult problems as her record shows.” (They didn’t mention “mafia.”)
Gov. David Ige issued the following response:
“I welcome the Congresswoman’s entry into the governor’s race. I look forward to giving voters the opportunity to compare our records of achievement and visions for the future. I hope to build on the solid foundation my administration has established in our first three years.”
“I do not think Governor Ige will go quietly into the night,” said political analyst John Hart. “She will be an extremely formidable opponent. She will outspend him. She will out-raise him. He will have his hands full.”
Hanabusa’s campaign website, www.hanabusaforgovernor.com, will go live with the filing of her campaign committee papers….
read … Hanabusa to establish campaign committee for 2018 governor run
Sens. Green, Espero announce runs for lieutenant governor in 2018
HNN: …Hawaii Sen. Josh Green, who represents Kona and Kau, made a formal announcement Friday on Hawaii News Now Sunrise that he'll be running for lieutenant governor.
“I’m doing it because I care about Hawaii families very deeply,” he said (smirking)….
State Sen. Will Espero also announced on Twitter on Friday that he will be running for lieutenant governor….
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and state Sen. Jill Tokuda have already said they’re running for lieutenant governor.
Current Lieutenant Gov. Shan Tsutsui told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in March that it was very doubtful that he would seek reelection, but he would likely run for Maui mayor….
"It has next to no constitutional responsibilities," said political commentator Dan Boylan. "You get a car. You got a big office. You have a staff."…
HTH: Green to run for lieutenant governor; Kanuha will seek state senator’s seat
read … Lt Gov
Rail: Caldwell begins Making Excuses for Property Tax Hike
HNN: …Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he has already started arranging plans on the city’s end once the bill becomes law, and met with the governor to work out how the state will give money to the city in a timely manner.
“By making sure that coordinating with the state, they will be timely in how they transfer the funds over here. Part of that depends on the state’s ability to prepare to review invoices,” Caldwell said. “They’ll be getting invoices that have a lot of detail and they’re going to have to check them out.”
If the city doesn’t get the money on time, Caldwell says his administration will look into where it can cut money from the city budget to pay for rail….
Senate Bill 4 now heads to the governor for his signature. Gov. David Ige released the following statement:
“I thank everyone who took the time to testify this week, including the leaders from the counties. The special session has not been easy, but the Legislature did not give up. I especially thank the Legislature for passing this compromise measure, which allows us to complete the rail line to Ala Moana. The entire state will benefit from this strategic investment. My cabinet members and I will be doing a final review as we do for all legislation, but I fully anticipate signing the bill before the Honolulu City Council meets on Tuesday.” ….
there’s been a big drop in public transportation ridership around the nation and in Honolulu. Honolulu bus rides are down as much as a million a month over the past couple years, partly because of an Uber-effect.
If fares cover only a quarter of the operations and maintenance costs, the rest must be covered by taxpayers. City taxes already subsidize TheBus.
The question is where exactly will the added rail subsidy come from. Caldwell said Wednesday about earmarking some property taxes: “We are considering different ways because rail has enhanced the value of real estate around stations to use some of that to operate and maintain the rail system.”….
- KITV: Taxpayers will be left paying the cost difference.
- HNN: During today's floor session, House Democrats voted down several floor amendments proposed by Republicans. They wanted a more stringent forensic audit, which would look into potential fraud and theft, a cap on spending and an exclusion for neighbor island hotels from having to pay 1 percent room tax increase.
read … Property Tax Hike Coming
Lawmakers join the fight for more details on HPD officer's firing
HNN: …Members of the Women's Legislative Caucus delivered a letter this week to top police officials, notifying HPD Acting Chief Cary Okimoto that they want to evaluate how the department handled the veteran officers suspension, discharge, grievance and arbitration.
The letter is signed by Representatives Della Au Belatti and Lauren Matsumoto and Senators Rosalyn Baker and Laura Thielen.
“We held... an informational briefing at the legislature when this first happened, and there were a lot of questions about HPD policies and procedures," says Thielen.
The letter says "the disclosure of records is appropriate because the public interest substantially outweighs Sgt. Cahola's privacy interest" and says "transparency is paramount for the public's confidence in the integrity and credibility of HPD."
Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan sent a similar letter last week.
"Make them aware that the public has a right to know and that, at least, I’m going to be asking for this information. I want to know,” said Sheehan.
Cachola has been trying to get his job back since his termination, and sources say he may be entitled to it, claiming former HPD leaders might not have followed proper termination procedures.
Acting Chief Okimoto is reportedly refusing to let Cachola return, especially after another incident this year, when his wife called police saying he was choking her.
Cachola was not arrested in either case. Both sides headed into arbitration last week. …
read … Lawmakers join the fight for more details on HPD officer's firing
UH Finally has ‘Incentive’ to Field Winning Football Team
WHT: The University of Hawaii could begin earning “credits” from Aloha Stadium as soon as Saturday’s football home opener if crowds hit certain agreed-upon levels.
The “incentive-based opportunity” plan is a new wrinkle to the contract renewal for 2017 between the stadium and UH. There is an agreement in principle pending final signatures, both parties said.
It begins with Saturday’s game against Western Carolina. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
“This is a way to see if we can assist in minimizing their expenses and is in line with what we can afford,” stadium manager Scott Chan said.
Chan said the incentive levels, which are to be announced when the agreement is executed, are based on a 10-year per game average attendance of approximately 21,000.
Chan said he is “hoping for” a crowd of 25,000-28,000 for the game, which would mark the most fans through the turnstiles since 2014, when 32,197 were on hand to see UH open with 25th-ranked Washington.
As of early Thursday morning approximately 20,000 tickets had been distributed.
When turnstile counts exceed benchmarks UH would earn “credits” toward reducing what it is charged for game day expenses. UH does not pay rent but is responsible for game-day expenses that include security, cleanup, electricity, ushers and box office operations.
UH has been paying approximately $90,000-$100,000 per game….
read … Incentive
Solar Scammers Scrounge for More Tax Credits
SA: …The Hawaii Solar Energy Association said nearly 79 percent of its members saw a decrease in their PV business over the last year, according to August survey responses from 19 businesses. The association said 47 percent of survey respondents were pessimistic about business in the upcoming year.
“The response from our industry continues to show significant angst,” HSEA President Rick Reed said. “Clarity, stability and incentive to adopt clean technology are the name of the game in moving forward.”
The solar industry is in an almost two-year-long slump, as it has been struggling to adapt to the loss of a popular incentive program called net energy metering (NEM), which credited residents the full retail rate for the excess energy their solar systems sent into the grid.
The state Public Utilities Commission ended the program in October 2015, replacing it with two programs — self-supply and grid-supply — that have changed throughout the two years. The grid-supply program, which credits solar owners roughly 15 cents a kilowatt-hour for the excess energy they send into the grid, has a set limit of participants. This year the PUC expanded the capacity of how many can be accepted after the first cap was reached.
“The industry continues to rely on a shrinking pool of (NEM) and (grid-supply) projects,” HSEA said, noting better incentives for energy storage, especially a rebate for the purchase of energy storage, would help the industry expand other solar programs….
read … Isle solar industry has ‘cloudy’ future
Homeless Drug Addicts Run ‘Notorious’ Gaming Room under Nimitz Fwy
SA: …The areas in and around the viaduct — from Nimitz Highway on the mauka side to Keehi Lagoon on the makai side — are home primarily to single adults and couples who, so far, have shown little interest in moving into a shelter.
The area includes a notorious “gaming room” below the viaduct that outreach workers say attracts illegal gamblers from as far away as Chinatown.
It’s all part of the City Council district represented by Councilman Joey Manahan, who has walked through the area many times and met with the homeless occupants.
“It’s pretty intense,” Manahan said. “Some of the folks I’ve encountered down there either have some kind of chemical dependency or alcohol dependency. Others might have mental health issues. For whatever reason, they are not ready to go into permanent housing at this point. That’s the majority of folks. It’s not a great situation.”
Tons of debris need to be removed, along with an unknown number of abandoned and working vehicles, Manahan said. Homeless people routinely light fires below the freeway, sometimes inches from the concrete foundation….
Vanda Meheula, 61, has been living in the area for 15 years and said she was swept as recently as two weeks ago from her encampment on the mauka side of Nimitz Highway, leading her to walk just a few yards back under the viaduct with her 59-year-old brother and her 17 dogs. Her other brother, 53, lives in another encampment just off of Nimitz Highway, Meheula said.
“Not everybody’s got some place to go,” she said. (I mean besides a shelter.) ….
“We’ve been doing this for years,” Meheula said as she hugged one of her 17 dogs, Coco. “We’re not going to change now.”….
read … Tweekers