HHS agrees to investigate Hawaii for forcing pregnancy centers, doctors to promote abortion
Honolulu, Pearl City Among Worst Places to Start a Business
The Shame of Hawaii's Congressional Delegation
Hawaii Recycling is Polluting China--But No More as of May 1
Clean Nuclear Power for Hawaii
Mother’s Day Umbilical Cord
Election 2018: Keli'i Akina and Colin Moore
OHA Trustee Under Investigation For Accepting $72,000 From Heiress
CB: The ethics commission says in a charging document that Akana wrongly accepted more than $72,000 from Abigail Kawananakoa, a wealthy Hawaiian heiress, and failed to report the gifts within statutory deadlines.
Kawananakoa helped pay Akana’s legal bills in a lawsuit her fellow OHA board members filed against her. Akana’s attorney maintains this was not a personal gift because the lawsuit was against Akana in her official capacity as a board member.
Akana later sent Kawananakoa a $125.65 floral gift using her trustee allowance, which the commission deemed illegal special treatment.
Akana used public trust money to pay for other expenses, the commission said, including multiple $80 home internet bills, a $50 donation to the Hawaiian Humane Society and a $50 Apple iTunes gift card….
Akana is not the first OHA trustee to get in trouble with the ethics commission. Peter Apo had to pay $25,000 last year for using his position to benefit his private company. Hawaii News Now reported earlier this year that the state and the FBI are both investigating OHA for misspending….
read … OHA Trustee Under Investigation For Accepting $72,000 From Heiress
Election 2018: Ohana Zones Bill Leaves Much to be Decided by Incoming Mayors, Governor
SA: …One of the missing details is the most critical element: locations for the zones, which could number up to six….
the enterprise is being described in Senate Bill 2401 as a “pilot program,” given the lack of any favorable prototype….
What lawmakers do know is that they don’t want anything like Camp Kikaha, the now-closed safe zone that operated for seven months in Kailua-Kona. This was a makeshift site more like the “tent cities” that have sprung up wherever homelessness reaches crisis stage.
Provided with basic sanitation and some level of security, the Hawaii County camp did not effectively provide a waystation back to stable housing. Instead, many ended up right where they started; fire hazards and other problems plagued those who remained. The Big Island, too, is seeking more permanent solutions.
SB 2401 describes ohana zones as occupying public land equipped to address people’s basic needs but also paired with the intensive services, including health care and transportation, that could help them get back on their feet again.
Nice aspirations. But as yet unsolved, in addition to sites, is the decision about the housing itself, described only as “secure dwelling spaces that may be private or communal.” In the committee review of the bill, legislators spoke admiringly of Kahauiki Village, the public-private development off Nimitz Highway for homeless families.
But those structures were donated, a level of largesse that can’t be replicated often. There will need to be a relatively affordable alternative selected, perhaps something akin to the shipping containers rehabilitated for the Hale Mauliola project at Sand Island, a small-scale, short-term “housing navigation service center” the city developed on a state-owned parcel….
For this experiment to work, these will have to be much better than rebranded, chaotic tent cities….
Related: Hanabusa: Elect Me and I Will Build Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities Everywhere
read … Ohana zones tough but worth $30M try
Homeless Camps Cleared of Massive Piles of Garbage, Human Waste
CB: …Hi Pro Solutions, a private contractor hired by the state for $24,000, hauled away the ragged and smelly tents and tarps as well as thousands of pounds of trash and a large amount of human excrement. By the time the company finished hauling out the trash, it had filled three 40-foot roll-off bins. The contractor also cleaned up four large homeless encampments on the northwest side of the crater by a Board of Water supply facility near Collins Street.
Company owner Kaleo Broad called the encampments by Collins Street “unbelievable, out of control, gross — like nobody had cleaned there ever.”
The city, using municipal refuse trucks, hauled out more than three and a half tons of debris from the oceanside cliffs of the crater, which is under city jurisdiction, as well as 11 cubic yards of metal trash. Another city vehicle hauled off one camper’s possessions to place them in storage.
The homeless were offered a variety of social services including shelter, but they rejected all offers of immediate help.
If this has a familiar ring, it’s because the state did a similar sweep on Diamond Head in March 2017. And the city did its own sweep of the makai side of Diamond Head in September 2017.
“It is like they are trying to be as messy as possible. The amount of human waste at the camps really bothers me. They are disrespectful to the aina.”
The governor’s homeless coordinator, Scott Morishige, says the state has to keep trying to reach even the hardcore homeless.
“You never know when someone will want to change and accept services,” says Morishige. “It is not okay to give up on people in our community who have fallen on hard times. No one action will solve homelessness. We have to simultaneously try to go in five different directions to try. It is very complicated.”
Morishige says each month, 400 people exit homelessness and move into housing….
But Kimo Carvalho, communications director of the Institute for Human Services, says, “The real problem is more people are falling into homelessness than we are getting out.”
read … Maid
SB3095—More Anti-Agriculture Legislation
SA: …Hawaii’s farmers have one of the riskiest and most difficult professions, but also one of the most rewarding. They make up less than 2 percent of our workforce but they provide healthy fruits and vegetables, fish, beef, eggs, beautiful flowers and an infinite number of other products…
Proponents of Senate Bill 3095 have claimed that this bill affects “only” 45 farms in Hawaii. Ironically, the bill targets the local farms that produce most of our food. Hawaii has already lost thousands of acres of productive farms and many other farmers are currently struggling to stay afloat. Do we want to lose more farms because of unjustified new regulations?….
Over the past several years, farmers’ use of pesticides has been targeted. But the data is clear — it shows that none of the pesticide-related incidents at schools in Hawaii was caused by the farms targeted in this bill. The real threat to children from pesticides comes from mishaps in the home. More than a dozen studies have examined pesticides in air and water samples across the islands, and they show no indication that Hawaii’s farms are posing any risk to health or the environment….
You might be surprised to know that farmers in Hawaii are not the big users of restricted use pesticides; not by far. The vast majority of these pesticides are used by government agencies and ultimately by people like you and me, to protect our drinking water, our homes, our offices, our property and public health from dangerous and destructive insects and pathogens.
We understand that there are questions about pesticides, and we appreciate our elected leaders for being responsive and working to address those concerns. Given the facts, however, it would be far more appropriate to focus on pesticide use that has actually caused problems…..
An unjustified attack on Hawaii’s farmers hurts each of us. Agriculture is a community of cattle ranchers, seed producers, organic farms, large farms, and 2-acre mom and pop farms working together to provide food and sustenance for our islands.
read … Support farming via evidence-based policies, rules
HB1911: Legislature Targets Competitors to Vote-Rich Board and Care Homes
SA: …House Bill 1911 would give regulators the power to crack down on care homes, including so-called aging-in-place, or AIP, facilities, the first of which was fined $325,000 earlier this year by the state Department of Health.
The state considers AIP facilities illegal in Hawaii, which has roughly 2,000 licensed care homes that provide care for about 13,000 seniors and disabled. The bill would give regulators the power to enter a private home to investigate a licensing complaint….
(Clue: Competing Board and Care homes vote their patients. That’s a lot of votes.)
Maile Harada, a nurse and case manager who helped build the AIP model in Hawaii, said aging-in-place facilities are not unlicensed care homes, which she agrees need to be shut down.
AIPs merely coordinate homeowners, personal caregivers and case managers — things that already exist in the market — to provide another option for seniors, she said. Seniors share a home together and may get help from personal caregivers for certain services only if needed under the oversight of a registered nurse. Agreements for rental housing, personal care and case management are all separate.
“I’m not developing a model that can kill people or hurt people. Our intention is to give seniors another alternative to meet their care needs. We are worthy of having respect in the islands,” she said. “We do link people together, but we’re not affiliated with each other. A homeowner is only a homeowner. They’re not providing the care. They’re coming together under one business model.”…
read … Bill to regulate unlicensed care homes faces vote
Popular subsidies for kupuna caregivers set to be greatly restricted
HNN: …Under the current program, people who work at least 30 hours a week while taking care of a senior may be eligible to receive subsidies of up to $70 a day five days a week for services such as adult day care. But lawmakers now want to limit the value of subsidies issued for each participant to just $70 per week. The funds are paid directly to contracted service providers….
The change comes as lawmakers are also doubling funding for the program in the upcoming year to $1.2 million….
Luke said in the first year of the program, some $600,000 in funds covered day care funding for about 90 recipients.
"We're a little troubled" by those figures, Luke said. "To serve only 90 people, that's not the best approach."…
No taxpayer dollars are used. This would still be the case if an authority controlled the airports, but instead of being reliant on the Legislature to be able to utilize these fees for projects, the authority would have fiscal autonomy.
The latest draft of this year’s bill, however, kept the authority tied to state procurement codes, HRS Chapter 103D, which would encumber the corporation, according to Miyasato.
read … Popular subsidies for kupuna caregivers set to be greatly restricted
2018 Education Bills -- Live and Dead
HTH: State Senate Bill 2922 will ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to create a surcharge targeting “investment real property” valued at $1 million or more and if the owner does not qualify for a homeowner’s exemption.
Several other education-related bills are awaiting a final reading today and likely are headed to Ige’s desk. They include:
• House Bill 1938, which would increase the fine to $1,000 for overtaking a school bus on a state highway if the bus is stopped and its signals are turned on.
• HB 1489, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation in any state educational program or activity that receives state funding.
• HB 2607, which would develop a statewide public computer science curricula.
• HB 2025, which would establish a composting grant pilot project in public schools.
Several education-related bills also died in the current session of the Legislature.
Among them is HB 2117, which would have capped the number of standardized tests students take each year. Many public school teachers supported the bill and argued test-taking and preparation were detracting from time spent teaching other subjects.
Waiakea High School teacher Mireille Ellsworth said Monday that many teachers plan to continue advocating for a testing limit next year.
“There’s no research that really shows that those test scores even come close to predicting how someone will do in college or their career,” Ellsworth said.
Other education bills that are dead or likely to die this week include:
• SB 2380, which would add a nonvoting, public school teacher representative to the state Board of Education.
• SB 2576, which would add interior locks to all classroom doors and mandate all schools have emergency management plans that are updated yearly.
• SB 2381, which would allow school principals to close their school because of natural disaster without first needing to consult the complex area superintendent.
• SB 318, which would allow home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities offered at the public school they would otherwise be required to attend.
read … Education Bills
Hawaii airport authority bill dies at Legislature for second year in a row
PBN: …Airlines and other tourism stakeholders calling for the establishment of an airport authority to oversee Hawaii’s 15 airports had their hopes dashed on Friday when Senate Bill 2996 died in a conference committee hearing.
The bill, which intended to create a fiscally-autonomous corporation to take control of Hawaii’s airports from the Department of Transportation, ultimately died after House conferees were discharged.
“We are extremely disappointed that [the bill] did not pass through conference committee this legislative session. Hawaii’s airports will continue to fall further behind until this measure passes,” Blaine Miyasato, co-chair of the Airlines Committee of Hawaii, said. “Without the corporation we will continue to see over budget and delayed improvement projects and no continuity in leadership and vision for Hawaii's airports.”…
the corporation’s fiscal autonomy – which hinged on exemption from state procurement codes – seemed to worry lawmakers….
The labor committee also raised concerns regarding the corporation’s exemption. Labor Committee Chair Aaron Ling Johanson said during a March hearing that committee members share concern over the precedent this bill would have over other authorities that wish to be exempt from state procurement codes, and it may be better to fix the underlying issues within the code….
HTH: Inouye said legislators will try again to pass an airport corporation bill next year.
read … Authority
Bill passes to raise withholding on sales of Hawaii property by nonresidents
PBN: …The Hawaii Legislature has passed a bill to increase the percentage of funds the state requires to be withheld on sales of properties by nonresidents for capital gains taxes.
The Hawaii Real Property Tax Act, or HARPTA, currently requires buyers of those properties to withhold 5 percent of the gross sale amount, but Senate Bill 508, which was sent to Gov. David Ige last week for signature, increases that amount to 7.25 percent.
The original wording of the bill would have increased the amount to 9 percent, but the final version passed by both chambers last week put the amount at 7.25 percent, which is the state’s maximum capital gains rate for an individual. The state’s maximum capital gains rate for a corporation is 4 percent.
HARPTA applies to nonresident sales by individuals and corporations.
Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation, noted in his testimony that HARPTA itself is not a tax, but rather “a means for the state to collect capital gains taxes from absentee owners."
“There’s also another complication,” Yamachika told Pacific Business News. “If someone has been renting the property out and they haven’t paid the [general excise tax]or [transient accommodation tax], then the state tax office will intercept that as well.” ….
read … Bill passes to raise withholding on sales of Hawaii property by nonresidents
Council to city: Replace parking stalls lost to urban bike lanes (or else)
HNN: Councilmembers are threatening to block money for more bike lanes if the city doesn't replace lost parking stalls.
So far, 184 on-street parking spaces have been removed to make way for bike lanes and the city's bike share program, known as Biki. On top of that, another 70 stalls will be gone by early next year as Honolulu's bicycle grid continues to expand.
For the owner of Raintree Bakery and Coffee House, feeding the meter has always been part of doing business on Pensacola Street.
But by year's end, the already limited parking is expected to become even more scarce as the city eliminates dozens of on-street stalls to make way for a new bike lane from Wilder to Waimanu.
"All of these businesses are going to go under. There is no way we can survive," bakery owner Jerry Hardee. "The fact that we had no voice in this, I did not think that this was right."
Hardee took those concerns to the neighborhood board and caught the attention of councilmembers. prompting two new proposals that would require the city to make up for the lost stalls…..
read … Council to city: Replace parking stalls lost to urban bike lanes (or else)
City settles police brutality lawsuit involving special duty officer
HNN: The city has agreed to a financial settlement with a man who was violently detained in a Waikiki bar almost a decade ago – because a Honolulu police officer on special duty assisted security guards who tackled him and eventually choked him unconscious.
The case tested whether officers on special duty – who wear their uniform, badge and gun while working for private companies – had the same protection against lawsuits as when they were on active duty.
The case against the officer was revived when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that police officers working off-duty jobs at private events were not protected by what's known as "qualified immunity," a legal protection afforded to police officers acting in their official capacity.
The immunity law is meant to allow police to take appropriate action to protect the public or themselves without worrying about being sued.
The case centered around Honolulu police officer Kinchung Chung, who was hired to work a New Year's Eve party at the Sheraton Hotel's Rumfire Club in Waikiki in 2009.
Court documents show Chung stopped Dillon Bracken for trespassing -- specifically, for being inside a VIP section without a wristband. That's when hotel security guards took Bracken down.
His friend, Paul Klink, took a picture of Bracken on the ground with someone on top of him and a hand pushing down on Bracken's face. …
read … 10 Years Ago
The Jones Act Drives America’s Finest Into Exile
WSJ : …Limits on imported steel threaten to sink both a U.S. shipbuilder and its domestic customer….
read … The Jones Act Drives America’s Finest Into Exile
Ignoring History of Blackouts, Greenbiz Promotes “New” Virtual Power Plant Concept
IM: …“In the late 1990's, HELCO was suffering severe reliability problems when the Puna combustion turbine suffered an extended outage, and the Company's generation expansion plan had been delayed.
"In order to eliminate rolling blackouts that had plagued the island, HELCO contracted with several large customers with emergency generators to switch some of their loads to their own generators during high-load hours. I was involved in researching and encouraging this as a consultant to the Consumer Advocate.”…..
read … Ignoring History, Greenbiz Promotes “New” Virtual Power Plant Concept