Hawaii Legislators Grasping at Straws
Hawaii GE Tax hits many products multiple times
UH Prof: Sustainability Means Cutting off Mortgage Credit so the Little People Can't Buy Homes
Will Caldwell Bumbling Wipe out North Shore Surf Contests?
City Agrees to Stop Illegally Towing Cars Belonging to Deployed Military Personnel
Trump Nominates Kenji Price US Attorney for Hawaii
Kam Schools Settles: One Homosexual Child Molester Did $80M Damage
HNN: Kamehameha Schools has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with numerous men who were sexually assaulted by psychiatrist (and Hawaii ACLU Director) Dr. Robert Browne, who served as a consultant for the private school for decades, Hawaii News Now has learned.
Although none of the attorneys directly involved with the case will talk about the agreement, sources familiar with the negotiations say Kamehameha has agreed to pay $80 million to the 34 plaintiffs, including families of men who died later and some who were not Kamehameha students.
Settlement talks began in earnest last month with mediators after Kamehameha apologized for not acting faster to help the men….
read … $80M Damage from One Molester
Waikiki Health Clinic Helps Victims of Child Molesters Avoid Pregnancy
HNN: …Waikiki Health is handing out cell phones to young women who agree to take a sex education course.
The program is aimed at girls between the ages of 14 and 22 who are living on the street.
(Clue: Those age 14-17 and selling sex are the victims of child molesters.)
Statistics shows 50 percent of homeless youth have reported getting pregnant. In Hawaii, 30 percent have had a baby.
(That’s a lot of child molesters.)
"We've been offering condoms for decades and we had a lot of pregnancies with our street youth," said Waikiki Health's Chief High Risk Service Officer, Kent Anderson. "The beauty of our long acting reversible contraceptive is once they have it implanted they're covered."
The program Wahine Talk teaches young women how to prevent pregnancy. After taking the course they get a free cell phone and a peer mentor.
"We really try to provide 24/7 support for these youth via text, via phone," said Anderson.
The girls are also asked to make a decision whether or not they want birth control….
(Here’s another idea: Identify the child molesters, catch them and prosecute them. And get their victims off the street.)
Related: Oahu Study: Child Molesters Exploit Drug-Addicted Homeless Youth
read … New effort afoot to help homeless teens prevent unwanted pregnancies
At OIP The Problem is Park
CB:…Our two reports focus on the specific question of how OIP is performing its core purpose to review and rule on denials of public access. The Legislature intended that such reviews would be “expeditious.” There is no question that nearly every OIP ruling in the last three years took two years or more. Such delays do not reflect an expeditious review process….
And as the Law Center learned in its analysis, OIP historically (ie: before Park) performed well in its responsibility to review and rule on complaints, despite having less staff and more appeals than now. We know that OIP can do better….
The Law Center is focused on OIP’s institutional methods, not attacking its leadership, and we have never questioned the competency of its director or staff. (hence the need for additional information in parenthesis)
read … The Problem is Park
DoTax Headed by Political Insider with no Relevant Experience
SA: …What’s cited is less that she’s a particular tax expert — though her law degree and experience in economic development and commerce positions for the city and state are relevant — than that she’s got broad experience in problem-solving and administration overall. She served as state insurance commissioner under Gov. John Waihee in the wake of Hurricane Iniki, without having a background in insurance.
“I never had a job I knew anything about when I went into it,” Takayama said, not at all apologetically.
It’s hit-the-ground-running time now at DoTAX, though. The agency has come under fire for problems with its Tax System Modernization project, a major priority of Gov. David Ige, who called her in from her previous post one floor up, heading the Department of Labor.
“One of the jokes is the reason I was made director of taxation is because I was the closest one,” she said.
Takayama graduated from the University of Hawaii in journalism. Her husband, state Rep. Gregg Takayama, also was a journalist before becoming press secretary to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye; they have three grown daughters.
During 13 years in D.C., she worked for Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Henry Giugni but also had a job with Grocery Manufacturers of America. And in that post she’s proudest of salvaging what had been wasted food and directing it to the nation’s food banks; Takayama now chairs the Hawaii Foodbank….
read … Linda Chu Takayama: State tax director tackles formidable task of modernizing an antiquated system
SB3090: Protesters get more control of Mauna Kea – Not Enough?
HTH: Some changes are planned for a bill creating a new management authority for Maunakea, but the legislation is still likely to face resistance from astronomers and Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners alike.
State Sen. Kai Kahele, one of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 3090, said the new proposal would require two cultural experts and an astronomer to sit on the authority’s board, in addition to requiring four of the seven seats be filled by Hawaii Island residents….
Kealoha Pisciotta, who is involved in the appeal of the Thirty Meter Telescope land use permit, said she wants a new management authority but is against this bill….
Doug Simons, director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, said the observatories remain open to making changes about management, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary to start from scratch….
Additionally, Mayor Harry Kim is pursuing a proposal for a new management structure for the mountain…
VIDEO: Officials Peppered With TMT Sublease Questions
Meanwhile: Activists Delay Rebuild of Hawaii Hotel With Elvis Ties
read … Hawaiians, astronomers, UH oppose bill to create Maunakea management authority
HB584: Hu Honua to Get Tax Credits for Chopping Down Trees
IM: …The Hawai`i State House has advanced bills to offer tax incentives to increase the amount of carbon stored in forests, and to offer tax incentives to those who chop down forests to make fuel for power plants. Both bills are headed for the House Finance Committee.
HB 2182 HD 1 supports “actions to conserve and enhance long-term sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, by prioritizing the development of parks, greenways, and restoration of native upland and coastal forests and wetlands. Greenhouse gas sequestration presents ample opportunities for foreign investment in the State's economy.”
HB 584 HD1 offers lucrative tax incentives for chopping down forests to make wood pellets to burn for electricity.
“As business incentives go, the enterprise zone program is better than most. The incentive applies to a specific activity (here, creating and maintaining employment) targeted to the problem the program seeks to address”, asserted the Tax Foundation of Hawai`i in testimony before the House Committees on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP) and Economic Development & Business (EDB) on February 15, 2018.
The Tax Foundation notes further, “One criticism of the program is that the designated eligible activities do not seem to have a common thread running through them except that the various activities seem to have been the Flavor of the Month at one time or other.”
If they both pass, the will join HRS §269-27.3 which allows Public Utilities Commission the right to give biomass companies preferential rates to sell electricity to utilities at above market rates….
The proposed Hū Honua biomass-to-electricity generation plant in Pepeekeo on the Hāmākua Coast, could receive incentives paid by taxpayers for destroying existing trees, more tax breaks for replacing them with saplings, and still more tax breaks for chopping them down again, and additional ratepayer subsidies for burning wood pellets. Still, the facility could not match the low ratepayer costs for the solar and battery system just approved for Kaua`i….
read … Tax Credits
$4M for Kupuna Caregivers Union Organizing Scam?
SA: Lawmakers are considering $2 million to $4 million in legislative funding for the Kupuna Caregivers program to provide up to $70 a day in services for seniors in Hawaii.
The momentum for the program has grown from a year ago when legislators allotted just $600,000, estimated to help between 50 and 135 caregivers statewide.
The House Health &Human Services Committee approved Tuesday $2 million in House Bill 1912, while Senate Bill 2988 would provide double that amount. With $2 million, an estimated 300 caregivers could get help to cover the costs of adult day care, chore and homemaker services, home-delivered meals, personal and respite care, and transportation.
So far 1,170 people have called about the program, according to AARP Hawaii.
There are 154,000 unpaid family caregivers in the islands…
As Explained: How Paid Home Care leads to Union Membership Scam
read … Legislation could give Kupuna Caregivers program up to $4M
Funding sought for new defensive radar for Hawaii
SA: The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is requesting $96 million in fiscal 2019 that would go toward the installation of two powerful radars in the Pacific — including one newly announced — to counter North Korean threats.
The agency is seeking $62.2 million in funding for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, which will directly aid the state and “provide a persistent, long-range acquisition and discrimination capability” for incoming ballistic missiles, according to a new budget estimate.
“Discrimination” refers to identifying warheads amid decoys and rocket parts….
read … Funding sought for new defensive radar for Hawaii
Hawaii Island’s ‘Oasis’ Of Affordable Homes
CB: …It’s a whole different real estate market on the east side of the Big Island, where residences cost about half as much as they do on Oahu….
The online real estate marketplace Zillow reports the median value of Hilo homes was $312,800 at the end of 2017….
(Why? Because there are 10,000s of houselots available. The supply-demand equation is tilted in favor of supply.)
Meanwhile on Oahu: Low-income rental housing breaks ground
read … Hawaii Island’s ‘Oasis’ Of Affordable Homes
Bill 59 Removes Some Artificial Barriers to Affordable Housing
SA: …Bill 59 (2017), approved unanimously by the City Council on Jan. 31, provides specifically:
>> Property tax exemptions for affordable rental units for the time they stay in the affordable category.
>> A freeze on property tax assessments, what’s known as a tax holiday, during the time an affordable-housing project is being constructed, or up to three years.
>> A waiver on wastewater system facility charges for affordable units.
>> A waiver of plan review and building permit fees for affordable units.
>> A waiver from park dedication requirements for affordable units.
Eligibility and price of the units — both of the sales and rental variety — will be based on standard federal area median income levels issued annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The bill received widespread support from both developers and affordable-housing advocates.
Caldwell, whose administration sponsored the measure, urged Council members to pass a companion bill, Bill 58 (2017), which would require those same developers and builders to put up affordable units that are more accessible to those making 80 percent of area median income or less. Developers say some of the requirements would make it tougher for them to finance any kind of housing.
read .. Caldwell signs affordable-housing bill
Paramedics are stretched to the limit — and there's no help in sight
HNN: …“Our call volumes been going up steadily, at a average of 10,000 more calls each year, and we still have the same amount of ambulances,” Nakano said.
EMS officials say the last new ambulance they received was in 2012. Sometimes, Nakano says, they are stretched so thin that an ambulance from Hawaii Kai will get called out to Nanakuli.
“At this point, we’re not meeting our required response times, because like I said, we’re stretched to the limit,” he said.
With a deadline looming at the capitol, lawmakers don't seem ready to help.
Two separate bills will be heard at the capitol on Friday that would provide funding for new EMS stations on the Big Island and Kauai. Nakano says he is asking for those bills to be amended to include adding another station on Oahu as well.
read … Paramedics are stretched to the limit — and there's no help in sight
Days numbered for Waianae Tweeker camp
SA: …recently some detrimental effects have become apparent.
This underscores the need for state officials to work on containing the damage being done, and toward the resettlement of these people to more appropriate shelter.
The problems include the diversion of water billed to the harbor users; uncontrolled trash and human waste; and damage to the sensitive environment supporting the native opae ula, or red shrimp.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which controls the state-owned property, documented these issues. And they rightly spelled the withdrawal of House Bill 2754, a measure that glossed over problems that had arisen on the 20-acre site….
The intent, according to the bill, was to “protect the welfare of the people and communities that may be established on state land, especially when those people and communities offer valuable lessons or models for how to address social challenges.”
This rosy characterization cannot conceal the fact that this just isn’t true. The encampment exists more as a coping mechanism devised by those who don’t find what they’re looking for within the state’s system of transitional shelter and social services. But it’s by no means a “model” of success….
Kahauiki Village, established for once-homeless individuals near Keehi Lagoon, comes closer to a “model” solution….
read … Days numbered for Waianae camp
1,000 Drug Addicts Pass Thru Maui Drug Court
MN: …As state legislators weigh spending $500 million for a new prison, they also could consider funding a less costly treatment program with a 20-year track record of “remarkable” change, state Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael Wilson said Thursday.
“You’re part of that change,” Wilson told those at the 62nd graduation ceremony of the Maui Drug Court program of intensive treatment and supervision.
“Maui represents a powerful Drug Court at a time when things are changing in the criminal justice system,” Wilson said. “It’s powerful because it’s a long-standing court, has over 1,000 graduates and it has a giant in the Drug Court world — and that is our Chief Judge Cardoza.”…
MN: Aerosmith founder addresses Drug Court
read … 1,000 Druggies
Dozens of hospital patients acquitted of violent crimes with no way to track them
KHON: …We’ve learned many others, including those accused of violent crimes, are treated and released, but the public doesn’t have a way to easily find out when they’re let out….
The only time the health department tells us who’s at the state hospital is when someone escapes, but only sometimes.
Since 2001, more than a hundred people have escaped from the state hospital, but the public is rarely told about them, again because of privacy laws….
Out of the nearly 600 patients Hawaii State Hospital oversees, including those at other psych facilities and halfway houses, about 20 percent were acquitted of crimes by reason of insanity.
The judiciary gave us a list of all those acquitted of violent crimes, like murder and sex assault, dating back to the 1970s. They’re people sent to the state hospital, but not necessarily still there….
read … Dozens of hospital patients acquitted of violent crimes with no way to track them
Soft on Crime: Try to Run Over a Cop? Let him out so he can do it again next year
SA: A 19-year-old man who was shot in the head and chest after allegedly hitting a Honolulu police officer with a stolen vehicle earlier this month is on probation for an eerily similar incident.
An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging Lenson Sos with trying to kill a police officer, burglary and driving a stolen vehicle. Circuit Judge Colette Garibaldi set bail for Sos at $500,000.
Sos is in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center, after undergoing surgery at a trauma hospital.
(Guess who’s paying for that surgery. No surgery would be needed if only this guy had been left in a nice safe jail with the other criminals.)
Following the Feb. 2 incident that left Sos in critical condition, Honolulu police Chief Susan Ballard said two officers fired their weapons after Sos backed into one of them while trying to flee in a stolen minivan….
Sos already has been convicted of burglary, criminal property damage and driving a stolen vehicle. He pleaded no contest to the charges last May. Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong sentenced Sos in July to four years of probation.
In that incident, police said Sos entered a McCully apartment through an unlocked door in June 2016, stole the keys to a car, drove off in the vehicle and picked up three friends he was with before the burglary. Officers spotted the sedan at Washington Intermediate School. When they tried to block the car, Sos rammed one of the officers’ subsidized police vehicles and fled….
read … Man charged in attack on officer similar to prior incident
Attorney: FBI investigation into four Honolulu police officers ‘completely unfair’
KHON: …“They’re feeling they’ve been treated unfairly. What happened was, they were served with ROPA papers, which is restriction of police authority, but not given a reason as to why they were being ROPA-ed,” explained attorney Megan Kau, who is representing one of the accused officers.
Days after the Honolulu Police Department started looking into what Chief Susan Ballard called rumors that the officers made a man lick a public urinal, Ballard turned the information over to the FBI.
“It’s not illegal. She’s allowed to do it, but it’s not appropriate. Police officers get accused of things all the time,” Kau said.
Kau has represented several HPD officers in the past, and says officers accused of misconduct typically go through a thorough internal investigation first….
read … Attorney: FBI investigation into four Honolulu police officers ‘completely unfair’
Kaneohe Chemophobia Campaign Draws Lawsuit
ILind: …A private-public venture between the U.S. Navy and the country’s largest owner of privatized military housing has sued the wife of a retired Kaneohe Marine officer for defamation.
The lawsuit by Ohana Military Communities was filed Jan. 31 against Cara Barber, who lived in on-base housing while her husband was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaiifrom 2006 to 2011. Her husband retired from the Marines as a major four years ago and the couple now lives in Florida.
Barber has been in the front lines of military families questioning and challenging pesticide and chemical contamination found at MCBH and other installations…
OMC and Forest City allege Barber used Facebook in a “smear campaign” by knowingly or recklessly making repeated false statements about health hazards on the base posed by contaminated soil previously discovered in and around housing areas.
The companies say their reputations have suffered because of the unflattering exposure of information about pesticide residue through Barber’s Facebook group and, at least for some period of time, a separate blog. They claim to have lost clients and business opportunities, incurred substantial costs and legal fees, and suffered damage to their business reputation.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified “general, special, treble, and consequential damages,” attorneys fees, punitive damages, and fees and costs…..
read … This Ex-Marine’s Wife Has Been ‘SLAPPED’ By The Navy
Protesters seize U.S., Hawaii flags at UH–Maui College
MN: …A group of Native Hawaiian protesters and college students seized the American and Hawaiian flags Wednesday morning at the University of Hawaii Maui College campus.
More than 15 people participated in taking down the flags unannounced on the West Kaahumanu Avenue side of the Hookipa Building near the college’s financial aid office. In a video posted on Facebook, group leaders explained that they took down the flags because the U.S. flag flying above the Hawaiian one represents America’s historical oppression of the islands.
The group brought the flags to Chancellor Lui Hokoana and spoke to him later on campus.
“Our identity has been erased, beaten, battered and thrown to the side,” an unidentified man wrapped in a Hawaiian flag said to the group. “We’re here today to say, ‘No, we’re still here.’ We’re here to communicate to the leadership at MCC that the American flag cannot fly above the Hawaiian flag any longer because of its symbolic oppression of the illegal overthrow”of Hawaii.
“This is one measure we can take that is approved on three other islands, and we take that step today.”….
2014: Students Take Down American Flags at the University of Hawai‘i
read … Why Maui Should Never Have been given a ‘college’