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Sunday, February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:33 PM :: 5339 Views

UH Maui Activists Tear Down US, Hawaii Flags

Trump Tax In Hawaii?

HART Hosts Public-Private Partnership Conference

First Lateral: 2,834 Bills Still Alive in Legislature

HB1908: Trigger Modification Ban To Be Heard Wednesday

Emails: How PACOM grappled with false missile alert

SB2922: Billion Dollar Property Tax Slush Fund for HSTA

SA: …The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) (always claims) believes a radical change (tax hike) is necessary, and those supporting the union’s proposal, Senate Bill 2922, hope the public (will be tricked into agreeing) agrees (if legislators allow this proposal onto the November ballot)….

… if it passes, its advocates (HSTA) will get some idea of (spend $$$$ to manipulate) public sentiment.

That’s because the measure seeks a change in the state Constitution, to empower the Legislature to assess a new state tax on investment property worth over $1 million, and on visitor accommodations. (Clue:  Soon that will be almost every house in Hawaii.)  This is the HSTA’s latest pitch to lawmakers to create a dedicated source of education funding, and this time its leaders have simplified their ask.

Rather than spelling out exactly how much the tax would be, the union now seeks to put the matter up to a public vote, giving lawmakers the option — and letting a future Legislature iron out exactly how it would work if the amendment is ratified.  (Translation: Billion Dollar Blank check for HSTA.)

That may be a pragmatic strategy to adopt in an election year, when nobody wants to deal with the reality of a tax increase….  (Translation: Easier to deceive the public.)

a surcharge on conventional visitor accommodations, such as hotels, could overburden the transient accommodations tax (TAT) as a source; it’s already being tapped for the city’s overbudget rail project….

(But HSTA could use it to label your children so they can create more fake SPED positions.)

read … Schools-tax idea faces high hurdle

Commission defends Hawaii Co raises, opposes more transparency

HTH: …The county Salary Commission stands by the big raises it doled out to county officials, and this week voted to oppose a charter amendment opening its process to greater public scrutiny.

Commissioner James Higgins called the measure, “the Sunshine Law on steroids.”

The commission, during a meeting Wednesday, voted unanimously to oppose the charter amendment, giving Chairman Hugh Ono authority to speak to the council on behalf of the commission.

Many commissioners seemed to take the proposal personally, asking what gives the council the right to oversee their work.

“Aren’t we here because they want to keep it out of the political realm?” asked Commissioner Thomas Fratinardo. “There’s no backroom deals going on. Our integrity is above reproach.”

Deputy Corporation Counsel Amy Self cautioned board members not to take Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy’s Bill 98 personally….

Bill 98: Text, Status

read … Commission defends county raises, opposes more transparency

Dru Kanuha: Hawaii County Needs GE Tax Hike AND Bus Fare Hike

WHT: …In a West Hawaii Today story Feb. 14, I was characterized as saying the tax surcharge is the only feasible path to fix our mass transit system….

The Hele-On Bus system has served our island since 1975, providing a critical link for thousands of our residents to get where they need to go. The hard-working staff, drivers and mechanics of our Mass Transit Agency have kept the system going in recent years even as our buses have fallen into disrepair. They deserve our support, and our community deserves a transit system that serves our island well.

But raising taxes again is the easy way out of this jam, and my colleagues and I were not elected to make the easy calls.

Before I can support any additional increases in taxes, I want to see the administration explore other options to better fund our mass transit system. These other options may not provide as immediate of a fix, but may have less of an impact on our community as a whole. Full fare for any one-way Hele-On ride is currently $2: that’s Kmart to the airport, or Kalapana to Kailua. How about a fare structure that reflects the distance traveled?

Best Comment: “Translation: the council has agreed to let Kanuha vote no on this tax increase because they will still have the votes to pass it and he took one for the team by increasing the gas tax which we got nothing for.”

read … A Bunch of Evasions

Taxpayers foot bill for paid leave

MN: …Administrative leave for thousands of Maui County salaried employees cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, with most of the expense tied to the longtime practice of granting discretionary leave for county workers to take half days off on Christmas and New Year’s eves.

The information surfaced as part of recent Uniform Information Practices Act requests from Maui Meadows resident Madge Schaefer and The Maui News. Schaefer said her request stemmed from being curious about total county personnel placed on administrative leave after Mayor Alan Arakawa took Department of Water Supply Director Dave Taylor off the job Nov. 15 and put him on paid leave….

Former Mayor Charmaine Tavares confirmed on Saturday that payment of half days for holiday eves “has been a tradition.”

read … Taxpayers foot bill for paid leave

HECO Will Spy on You, Turn off Appliances 

SA: …Imagine the electric utility raising the temperature of your refrigerator a couple degrees, briefly and harmlessly, to save electricity — and paying you for it.

That could be in the not-so-distant future for Hawaiian Electric Cos. following a recently approved regulatory framework that allows for a dramatic expansion of the utility’s ability to manipulate the energy use of willing customers.

This operation referred to as “demand response” will let residential and commercial customers volunteer to have certain power-consuming devices occasionally controlled by HECO so the utility can manage the alignment between electricity supply and demand as more sources of renewable — and variable — energy generation are added to electricity grids throughout the state.

Such an arrangement is important because demand could exceed supply on very cloudy or windless days in the future when considerably more power production depends on solar panels and wind turbines.

“The idea is that the customer participates in keeping the grid stable and reliable, and they are paid for that,” said HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg.

The state Public Utilities Commission, which issued a decision approving the framework Jan. 25, said demand response is key to HECO increasing its renewable energy supply.

“Making beneficial use of (demand response) programs is a critical step along the accelerated path to 100 percent renewable energy,” the commission said in its approval….

read … Spying

Green Energy Schemers Push Bills to Take Money Out of Consumers Pockets 

SA: …House Bill 2109 further narrows the scope of the solar water heater variance, and requires that exemption applications be signed by the architect or mechanical engineer attesting to the need….

House Bill 2110 encourages development of stand-alone microgrid systems that can also plug into utility-controlled larger grids. It directs the Public Utilities Commission to establish a tariff to standardize the value of services exchanged between a microgrid owner and the utility….

House Bill 2248 aims to adopt state appliance efficiency standards intended to save consumers’ money while conserving energy (keep the little people from using too much energy) and water resources. The standards would be modeled after those set in California for faucets, showerheads, computers and monitors, fluorescent lamps, commercial fryers and various other items….

>> House Bill 2273 would require car rental businesses to fold zero- emission vehicles into their fleets. It also would create an emissions surcharge tax on rentals with internal combustion engines, and launch a state special fund and grant program to promote development of zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, such as recharging stations….

>> House Bill 2431 would require the PUC to establish performance incentive mechanisms for electric utilities….

>> House Bill 1801 aims to amend the definition of “Renewable Portfolio Standard” (RPS) to reflect the percentage of renewable energy penetration in the state. Also, it establishes standards and targets for gas utility companies that mirror those for electric companies. (Because LNG is cheap and clean and we want expensive dirty ‘green’ energy like biofool and biomess….)

read … Renewable-energy strides being made in Hawaii, in fits and starts

Homeless?  Bumpy Sees Money Making Opportunity for Himself

SA:…The names Pu‘uhonua o Waimanalo and Pu‘uhonua o Waianae are not a coincidence.

“Pu‘uohonua” means “refuge” and Kanahele has been working with the leader of the Waianae encampment — Twinkle Borge — for nearly three years on how to create her own nonprofit organization. He said he’s also been educating Borge and the encampment’s other leaders on Native Hawaiian rights and issues.

“We’re an example,” Kanahele said. “It can work. Get ’em one land like us. Auntie Twinkles and the people of Pu‘uhonua o Waianae is ready to take on the responsibility.”

For 15 months between 1993 and 1994, Kanahele led an occupation of Makapuu Beach Park that included 300 people, mostly Native Hawaiians.

“Everybody was homeless, brah,” Kanahele, head of the sovereignty group Nation of Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser…..

Pu‘uhonua o Waimanalo is now awaiting a shipment of 10 dome houses from Japan; is working to develop more efficient energy systems; is trying to turn hydroponic fish effluent into a moneymaking business; has its own medical marijuana clinic; and is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency in Japan called “Aloha Coin.”….

Flashback: $4M Lawsuit Claims Bumpy Kanahele Defrauds Am. Samoa of Tsunami Recovery Funds

read … Waimanalo land lease offers possible solution for Waianae homeless camp

Kamehameha Schools teacher arrested, placed on leave after sexual assault allegations

SA: …The 23-year-old teacher was arrested at 9:38 p.m. Friday at the main police station for investigation of nine counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault, according to police arrest logs. He remained in police custody this afternoon, pending an investigation.

The man is a faculty member in the performing arts department at the Kapalama campus, according to the school’s website.

Taran Chun, head of Kamehameha Schools Kapalama, said in a letter sent to parents today that the school recently learned about an alleged inappropriate relationship between a faculty member and a student at the school.

He said the school immediately placed the teacher on administrative leave and was cooperating with a Honolulu Police Department investigation….

read … Allegations

Another project with problems

SA: …What is it about government construction contracts, especially if they involve transportation?

We learned this week that the $53.6 million state-city Joint Traffic Management Center, now under construction at South King and Alapai streets, apparently has such significant defects that the city issued a notice of default to the contractor, Watts Constructors LLC.

Among other problems, the city said, the roof was installed incorrectly and a weather-resistant barrier not at all, possibly causing water to leak into the unfinished building….

The city’s troubles are reminiscent of the state’s recent struggle to complete a new Hawaiian Airlines maintenance and cargo hangar, a project so badly botched that the state finally turned it over to the airline, which spent an additional $34 million to finish it and correct thousands of defects. The total cost was $120 million, according to Hawaiian….

read … Another project with problems

HB1756: Pesticide ban moves ahead on wave of Chemophobia

KGI:  A controversial measure to institute across Hawaii a blanket ban on the manufacturing, distribution and use of chlorpyrifos — once the most widely utilized pesticide in the United States — continues to gain traction as it moves through the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Richard Creagan (D-South Kona, portions of North Kona and Kau) who introduced House Bill 1756, said a similar measure was nixed last session because legislators assumed the United States Environmental Protection Agency was poised to ban the pesticide for use on agricultural products nationwide.

But as a new administration took control of the White House, President Donald Trump….

“It causes brain damage (or something) in fetuses,” Creagan said (smirking)…..“We are treating our babies like the Syrian dictator Assad is treating his own civilians,” (he then began giggling uncontrollably and was ushered away from the microphones by worried-looking aides….

Hawaii Children’s Action Network, submitted testimony in favor of HB 1756….

read … Pandering to Luddites

$25M Special Purpose Revenue Bonds for Rocket Launch Scheme?

HTH:  …“We use a concept that allows for electricity to be used, as opposed to rocket propulsion in order to achieve orbit,” said Jonathan Yaney of SpinLaunch Inc.

Yaney declined to explain how the technology is supposed to work because the company is pursuing patents and he doesn’t want to tip off competitors. But the name does give a hint.

State Sen. Glenn Wakai, D-Oahu, visited the company’s office in Sunnyvale, Calif., (free junket?) last October and described the launch mechanism under development as a centrifuge. He said he saw a “very small scale version of it.”

“It’s like a big water tank with an arm on the end,” Wakai said. “The arm is like the rocket. It spins up to 5,000 miles per hour and launches out of a chute into space.” 

(Clues: Escape velocity is 25,000 mphLow Earth orbit velocity is 17,000 mph.)

While SpinLaunch hasn’t put anything into orbit, and the concept has yet to be proven, Wakai said he thinks it is “very doable.”

He introduced a bill to authorize $25 million in special purpose revenue bonds to help the company set up a launch site on the island. The bonds are sold to private investors who provide the funding in exchange for tax-exempt interest payments….

read … Company with new tech exploring sites to launch satellites

Oligopoly Dispensaries Demand Police Crack Down After Illegal marijuana sales at expo

SA: …The state Narcotics Enforcement Division is investigating allegations of illegal activity at last weekend’s Hawaii Cannabis Expo, where some vendors openly distributed cannabis seeds and other products.

Most of the more than 100 vendors, including all three of Oahu’s legal medical marijuana dispensaries, were not distributing products illegally. But some were straddling the line of recreational use — including a number of exhibitors “giving away” seeds by donation.

The state Department of Health notified the attorney general’s office and law enforcement about possible illegal sales at the event and is “concerned about the allegations,” DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

By law, pot can be sold only to registered medical cannabis cardholders and only at dispensaries licensed by the Department of Health.

“It was alarming to witness the brazen display and illicit sale of cannabis flowers, seeds and other cannabis products over the course of three days with minors in attendance,” said Teri Gorman, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare, or HEALTH, the trade association that represents the state’s eight licensed dispensaries, in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser…..

“As state-licensed dispensaries, we are happy to comply with the letter of the law, but we also question why the same standard doesn’t apply to others,” Gorman said. “Our medical cannabis dispensary laws are designed to ensure licensees adhere to the nation’s highest standards of product, patient and public safety. For these standards to truly benefit Hawaii’s patients, the laws pertaining to illicit cultivation and sale of cannabis must be enforced.”

Organizers of the expo said they “regret to hear some of the Hawaii dispensary owners are disappointed in our event.”….

Helen Cho, spokeswoman for Aloha Green Apothecary, one of the legal dispensaries, said any illegal sale of cannabis “completely undermines the industry.(oligopoly)….”

Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach) in an interview. “We put together the medical cannabis program to completely and ultimately eliminate or minimize the black market. (The dispensaries) are a new industry created by the state of Hawaii, and we want to see them succeed. It’s a legit concern.”….

read … Oligopoly

Tsutsui expected to join Hanabusa campaign

SA: Not long after his abrupt resignation as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor, Shan Tsutsui is said to be gearing up to run the Maui operations for the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as she mounts a challenge to Tsutsui’s old boss, Gov. David Ige.

The former Maui senator who resigned Jan. 31 as lieutenant governor will be tapped to run Hanabusa’s campaign on his home island, according to sources familiar with the arrangement. Tsutsui says he’s not officially part of the campaign at this time.

“When she’s come to Maui, I’ve taken her to a few events and introduced her to some people,” Tsutsui told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “But there’s no official capacity or anything like that.”

Keith DeMello, spokesman for the Hanabusa campaign, said “the campaign has no announcement at this time” on Tsutsui’s involvement….

Tsutsui announced Jan. 29 that he had accepted a position on Maui with the Hawaii branch of communications and public affairs firm Strategies 360, and that his last day as lieutenant governor would be Jan. 31.

Tsutsui said he’s known Hanabusa since they served together in the state Senate. Tsutsui, who was first elected in 2002 to the Senate district representing Wailuku and Kahului, became Senate president in 2010 when Hanabusa left the Legislature to run for Congress….

UH-Maui College professor and longtime political observer Dick Mayer…suggested Hana­busa, on the other hand, will need to boost her image with Maui voters.  “Hanabusa’s standing is quite different. I’ve never heard anybody say anything particularly nice about her on Maui,” he said…. 

ILind: Tsutsui reportedly to campaign for Hanabusa


read … Who?



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