1959: Martin Luther King Jr Salutes Hawaii Statehood
False Alarm: Hawaii Missile Alert Retracted by Civil Defense
38 Minute Delay--State EMA Got Permission from FEMA Before Retracting False Alarm
Hawaii Family Forum Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary
Trump Tax: Will Hawaii Legislature Conform?
90% Of Workers Likely To See More Money In Paycheck Next Month, Thanks to Republicans
CBS: The U.S. Treasury and the IRS on Thursday put out new guidance and withholding tables for employers that incorporate changes from the new tax law.
Under those new tables, the Treasury estimates that 90% of people who get a paycheck are likely to see more in take-home pay, as soon as February. Employers will have until Feb. 15 to incorporate the changes in their payroll systems…..
read … Thanks to Republicans
Hanabusa: Build Homeless Tent Cities instead of Single Family Homes
MN: …Hanabusa doesn’t mind keeping a controversial idea on the table. Take safe zones, for example — government-sanctioned encampments for homeless people to sleep in, use the restroom and find social services. Last year, Hawaii County experimented with a safe zone, and Mayor Alan Arakawa has expressed interest in creating one on Maui. But Ige has said the concept would be the opposite of safe and could put federal housing funds at risk.
Hanabusa said safe zones can be “a critical component” by addressing the immediate needs of the homeless before helping them find more permanent shelter.
A few years ago, a proposal similar to safe zones ran up against opposition on Maui. The Kauaula Campgrounds project called for providing campsites on 2 acres in Lahaina for both commercial campers and transients, who would have to pass screening to get a space and would only be able to stay for a fixed term. But residents were concerned the camp would be unsafe, discourage tourism and reduce property values.
Hanabusa said that, in Waianae, many of homeless people live in the kiawe brush where it’s easy for some to forget they exist. But hoping “that they would just go away doesn’t address the fundamental issues,” she said.
“Nobody wants it in their backyard,” Hanabusa said. “But the problem is that it’s going to be somewhere. So if we work together and find some place that maybe people can all accept, then that’s a resolution.”
Hanabusa also is concerned about housing and on “how do we bring the young people home?” She said it comes down to understanding what type of housing the next generation envisions.
“We cannot continue, in my opinion, to build single-family houses, and though a lot of people do aspire to that, I don’t believe everyone does,”Hanabusa said.
“We have to start asking the question as to, ‘(Does) everyone want a house with the yard or are people looking at a different type of living?'”…
read … A Festering Homeless Tent City is Your Future
Hawaii GOP: Remember Hawaii’s Forgotten Middle Class
SA: … On Wednesday, the state Legislature will convene. It is time it addresses the too-long-ignored elephant in the room: Hawaii’s forgotten middle class.
Hawaii’s growing wealthy are doing quite well, as can be seen with the ongoing influx of investor funds pouring in from around the globe. Where does that leave the middle class, the majority of Hawaii’s population? Even with so many of us working two (or more) jobs and living three generations to a house, we are only barely surviving. It should come as no surprise to see that the Hawaii we know and love is quickly giving way to a place where endless struggle to afford the basics of life and the number one homelessness rate (per capita) is the new normal.
According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 13,537 more people left Hawaii for the mainland than moved in from another state. Why is this happening? What is it about our great state that continues to spur this mass exodus from Hawaii? Simply put: it is the high cost of living here….
The Republican Party of Hawaii is dedicating the 2018 legislative session to: Making Hawaii Affordable Again.
read … Taxation drives cost of living in isles
75% Vacancy Rate for ‘affordable’ renters Thanks to Government Red Tape
SA: It seems counterintuitive, but one of the challenges in providing affordable rentals appears to be securing the tenants who are willing to apply, and who qualify to move in.
State and county officials are pressing for development of more rentals priced for individuals and families who don’t earn enough to buy a home. They have set rules that are meant to channel the lower-cost homes to people who otherwise struggle to afford housing.
But some developers say constraints make the application process inflexible, a hard needle to thread.
And units that go unrented in this costly environment will deter developers from building them, said Stanford Carr — even more than they are already….
For months the affordable component — the 209 Keauhou Lane rental units on Keawe Street — have been on the market, and only a quarter of them are occupied.
One reason: Under the agreement with the state Hawaii Community Development Authority, these units must be affordable to those earning up to 100 percent of the area median income (AMI) — even a little bit more than that disqualifies the applicant.
“Both HCDA and the city are dictating that if you’re at 100 percent AMI, you need to make no more than 100 percent,” he said. “If someone makes 100.1 percent — meaning at least $500 a year over — he can’t rent in that apartment.”
On top of that, Carr said, the HCDA requirements put the applicant through an income and asset check that has many looking elsewhere for housing instead.
“If I gotta give you tax returns, my pay stubs — open kimono — I’m going like, ‘I’m not going to do this,’” he said. “I’m going to rent somewhere else … without the hassle.
“That’s the problem,” Carr added. “The government is actually creating the impediment.”….
Christine Camp is president and CEO of Avalon Group, which built the 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive rental apartment complex. Avalon’s unilateral agreement with the city meant that of the 269 units, 54 are reserved for those earning at 80 percent AMI. That’s a monthly of $2,603 for a three-bedroom and $1,771 for a two-bedroom apartment.
The larger units are the toughest to rent, she said; there is a waiting list for the smaller ones. Those who can readily manage a $2,600 rent earn too much to meet the income limit, she said.
“We reduced it to $2,100, and we still have 10 left,” she added. “Many of them would rather wait for the two-bedroom and two-bath unit for $1,771.” ….
KAMEHAMEHA Schools delivered 54 studios at the low-rise renovation of Six-Eighty fronting Ala Moana Boulevard and the 88 units in The Flats at Pu‘unui on Keawe Street as the affordable-rental component in its Kakaako redevelopment.
Both projects are “at or near capacity” now, said Aron Dote, a Kamehameha spokesman, but he also acknowledged that “it did take a little bit of time in the process to do the qualification.”…
SA: Affordable rentals require much income verification
read … Stacks of rules for ‘affordable’ renters
Crisis looming for health care
SA:Hawaii has been long touted for its mandatory employer-provided health insurance system, but Gordon Ito, the state insurance commissioner, has a dire warning.
If residents (who are the healthiest in the USA) don’t develop healthier habits, Ito said, the whole plan set up for their care will collapse, and not too long from now. That’s a looming threat that will require action throughout the health-care landscape: cost-cutting moves from patients, providers and insurers alike.
There’s been a doubling in the payout in premiums every 10 years, he said, and the 2017 total of $7 billion, including publicly funded and private insurance, is expected to rise by $2 billion to $3 billion in two to three years.
“We’re at a crisis point — people don’t realize it,” said Ito, addressing the Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial board last week. “The health care cost is really impacting the entire state: businesses, government, people’s household budgets. Net income is really being impacted, wages are really being depressed.”…
by law, the portion of the premium that the employee picks up is capped at 1.5 percent of their wages. With premium costs on a steep climb, the burden on businesses is becoming far too heavy…..
Ito believes a better database tracking medical services across Hawaii populations could guide policy actions to contain their costs. He hopes the state Legislature will pass a bill to create such a database….
read … Crisis looming for health care
Kahuku Wind Turbines Would be Tallest in USA—655 feet
IM: …The proposed second Kahuku wind generation facility will beat the U.S. height record by 100 feet, reaching a height of 655 feet, two hundred feet higher than the tallest building in Hawai`i. Its height would be more than the length of two football fields.
The tallest American wind turbine is 557 feet from ground to the tip of the blade. It is taller than the Washington Monument….
Keep the North Shore Country opposed the Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC proposal, and filed for a contested case proceeding. The Board of Land and Natural Resources granted the request. Hearing Officer Yvonne Izu found the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) inadequate in its dealing with the ‘ōpe‘ape‘a (Hawaiian hoary bat).
Yesterday the BLNR heard oral arguments on the recommendations made by Izu. Presentations were made by Maxx Phillips, an attorney for Keep the North Shore Country, Elizabeth Rego, a member of the Kahuku Community Association Board, and an attorney for the wind farm. The Board members then asked questions of the parties.
The bat issue made the front page of the December 2017 edition of Environment Hawaii -- “Blown Off Course. When a tiny `ope`ape`a flies into — or even too close to — the huge blade of a wind turbine, it’s really no contest. And that’s why a firm that plans to build nine or more wind turbines on O`ahu’s North Shore has to come up with a proposal to reduce harm to the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat. But a hearing officer in a contested case over the sufficiency of the wind farm’s proposal has found it sorely lacking in measures that would result in protections for the species.”….
BLNR member Stanley Roehrig recused himself for having an accidental ex parte communication with a wind farm proponent.
Maxx Philips asked that Board member Samuel Gon III be recused, due to his prior decision making on the Endangered Species Recovery Committee. Each side will file briefs on the matter….
read … Hawai`i Wind Turbines Reaching New Heights
Maui: After Losing Speakership, all they have is Vice Chair
MN: Maui lost Souki as speaker at the end of last year’s session, an ouster engineered by current Speaker Scott Saiki, the contingent’s ace in the hole may well be another Central Maui lawmaker, Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran. After last year’s session, he was elevated to vice chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee…
Big-ticket items include construction of the Kihei high school, highway improvements and a $28.8 million operating subsidy for Maui Health System as it has taken over public hospitals on Maui and Lanai. Projects with smaller price tags include $8 million to complete new medium-security housing at the overcrowded Maui Community Correctional Center in Wailuku and $3 million for a project with the Trust for Public Land to purchase and protect 3,000 acres at Kamehamenui on the northern slope of Haleakala….
read … As legislative session nears, lawmakers talk about priorities
Latest Screw-up: Will Public Employees Get off Scot Free Again?
Cataluna: …when the truth comes out that it was a false alarm and all that heartbreaking terror was caused by one person with slippy fingers fumbling through a relatively new procedure during a shift change on a Saturday morning, it is not the time for cool heads and rational tones. It’s the time for outrage.
Somebody needs to get fired….
But there’s Gov. David Ige saying the incident was both “very unfortunate” and “very, very unfortunate.”
And there’s Vern Miyagi, boss of the bungler, saying, “You gotta know this guy feels bad, right?”….
Somebody ought to be fired, and if it’s not the person who actually sent out the doomsday text, then it’s those along the chain of command who think saying, “Sorry, it won’t happen again” will suffice. The fury of every person who was made to confront their worst fear on a sunny Saturday morning will demand retribution.
For Instance: HGEA Hospital Workers who let Saito Escape to Stockton are back at work after 1 Month Vacation
read … Somebody needs to get fired over false missile alarm
NYT: Hawaii False Alarm ‘Most Serious Misfire of Alert System’
NYT: …The episode in Hawaii appeared to be the Wireless Emergency Alerts system’s most serious misfire since it became operational in 2012 to modernize America’s decades-old approach of using television and radio to notify the public about impending weather, safety and other hazards….
Related: FCC to Investigate
read … Hawaii is #1
Reaction to Missile Attack False Alarm