Kilauea Explosion Sends Ash to 30,000 feet
How Well-Funded are Pension Plans in Your State? -- Hawaii 45th
Caldwell: I Will Eradicate Every Last Lime
Applicants Sought for Hawaii Elections Commission
Can Uber Stay in Honolulu?
Good Intentions Pave Road to Hawaii Housing Crisis
Dozens of Department of Education employees are under investigation
KITV: …Department of Education reports dozens of employees are under investigation facing allegations of misconduct.
Accusations range from sexual harassment to workplace violence. Many still on department directed leave or leave pending investigation.
Teachers count for about half of the 55 pending cases….
59 times in the past six months, Hawaii has investigated its own teachers accused of conduct that's not appropriate.
"27 percent of the 55 are elementary school, or 15 cases, 12 out of 55 are middle school, or 22 percent. 21 out of 55, or 38 percent were high school," Covell said.
Covell says their goal is to close cases within six months. Something they accomplished more than half the time with a wide range of outcomes.
"Five were terminations this cycle, three were suspensions, three had written reprimands," Covell said.
But at times, investigations can be slowed down by detours.
"Sometimes during the process, we are finding additional allegations and it has to include more witness to talk to," Covell said.
Board of Education board member Bruce Voss says the BOE wanted three extra investigators: a request that died at the legislature….
(And they want you to raise your taxes for this?)
read … Dozens of Department of Education employees are under investigation
HSTA teacher arrested on suspicion of promoting harmful drug
KITV: … Police arrested a teacher at Waialua High and Intermediate School Wednesday on suspicion of promoting a harmful drug.
The Department of Education confirmed the teacher was placed on department directed leave….
(And they want you to raise your taxes for this?)
read … Drug Dealer
Kishimoto: I Will Give Every Penny of Your Property Tax Hike to HSTA Members
SA: …“If the voters approve this measure, then let’s put these funds directly into moving our teacher, leader and staff pay into the top 20 percent of competitive education pay in the nation,” she said….
read … Tax On Affordable Housing
More Lame Excuses from Kaniela Ing – 31 Counts of Campaign Violations
CB: …The state Campaign Spending Commission has filed a complaint against Rep. Kaniela Ing, saying he has filed false reports, accepted excessive contributions and used his campaign funds for personal expenses.
The commission is scheduled to take up the complaint, filed by Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao, at its next meeting on Wednesday.
In all, Ing faces 31 counts and the commission has recommended a fine of $15,422….
The commission subpoenaed bank records covering a five-year period and found Ing failed to disclose $28,915 in campaign contributions and $87,559 in expenditures, which is about 62 percent of his total expenditures, according to the complaint.
Bank records also show Ing used his campaign accounts to pay his rent on his personal residence on Maui, his landlord on Oahu and a VISA bill for his domestic partner (a corporate lobbyist), according to the complaint. The commission is asking him to reimburse his campaign for the $2,344 in “personal expenses” and pay a fine for commingling the accounts….
Ing said in a Dec. 5, 2017, email to the commission’s general counsel, Gary Kam, that he was acting as his own campaign treasurer….
“This degree of scrutiny in past campaigns is new for me,” he said. (Well um except for his 2012 race and the $375 fine he had to pay then. Or the 2016-17 adventures of the shade-tree BMW mechanic.)
Looking forward, Ing said his congressional campaign is far more well equipped than his past House campaigns. He said it is outfitted with accountants, lawyers and advisers…. (His federal committee treasurer is a relative. Hint, hint.)
(Translation: He is also grifting from his Federal campaign account.)
We Told You It Would End This Way:
- 2018: Honolulu Socialists Foolishly Allow Rep Kaniela Ing to Join Up
- 2017: Rep Kaniela Ing: Tickets, Lies, and Bin Laden
- 2017: Rep Kaniela Ing married to Corporate Lobbyist
- 2016: Rep Kaniela Ing Caught Lying About Arrest--Claims 'Conspiracy'
- 2016: Rep. Kaniela Ing Pleads "Not Guilty"
- 2016: Rep Kaniela Ing—Among Worst Attendance in State House
- 2012: Campaign Spending: HD11 Candidate Kaniela Ing Could Face Fines, Felony Charges
- 2012: House Candidate Kaniela Ing: “I don’t Support Osama bin-Laden”
- 2012: Legislative Candidate Mark Ing: Bin Laden Was “Leading a Movement Against the American Crusade”
- 2011: Ing Rejected by Law School
- 2010: House Candidate Kaniela Ing Threatened with Expulsion from UH
read … Joke Candidate
Lime: Government Moves Quickly When Politicos Don’t Get a Cut of New Business
PBN: …My, oh my, how quickly local officials can move when they aren’t getting their cut of a new business. Monday morning, we reported the launch of a scooter rental business called Lime-S. You rent the scooter, tool about on it, leave it basically wherever you want when you’re done and the next customer then finds it and rents it.
By Monday evening, we were reporting that the Honolulu Police Department had confiscated 81 of the scooters as “an unauthorized concession” under the direction of the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services.
Honolulu can’t stop monster houses; can’t consistently enforce transient accommodation rules in the neighborhoods; can’t do anything about derelict vehicles we see rusting in yards and on roadsides for years at a time. But wave some unauthorized scooters in its direction and it sends out the guys with guns and the badges. Immediately….
read … Not Getting a Cut
OHA Uses Misleading Data About Hawaiians
CB: …The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent millions of dollars developing voter rolls in an attempt to push federal recognition, but very little thought seems to have gone into collecting data on the economic condition of native Hawaiians. OHA appears to be ignoring the margin of error in its datasets.
On OHA’s Homeownership Indicator Sheet 2016, OHA interprets the movements of the lines on a graph, re-created below, directly, as if they can be taken literally: “Although there was a large decrease in 2014 to 52.9 percent, the increased change to 57.7 percent in 2015 puts OHA on track,” they claim.
OHA obtains its data from the American Community Survey, “an ongoing statistical survey by the U.S. Census Bureau sent to approximately 295,000 addresses monthly (or 3.5 million per year),” according to OHA. What OHA does not explain, however, is that this data includes fewer than 3,000 Native Hawaiians per year. That results in a margin of error so large it makes it impossible to measure whether OHA is achieving its goal.
This is disheartening to say the least. As explained in the biography for CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe, who was the research director from 2009 to 2012 (when he was made CEO), the data is “gathered” to help OHA “make sound decisions that allow it to engage policymakers in its efforts.”
Our campaign team recreated the above table following the citations provided by OHA, but we added the margin of error to the chart. The margins of error are provided by the original data source, right alongside the numbers OHA cites.
As you can see, once the margin of error is added, it is clear there is no evidence of any real change between 2013 and 2015, up or down. All the changes are well within the margin of error:…
I have said OHA should develop an overwhelming obsession with programs that will improve the daily lives of Native Hawaiians. That starts with the people at the top of OHA actually paying enough attention to know that their data is inadequate….
read … Sam King for OHA
GEMS ‘Solution’: Subprime Loans to Deadbeats
PBN: The state’s $150 million Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, financing program, which is intended to help homeowners, nonprofits, small business and multi-dwelling owners invest in clean energy technology, is slowly moving toward its goal of loaning out all the money, something that was supposed to happen by November 2016.
As of March 31, $84 million, or 57.4 percent, of GEMS funds have been committed, according to the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, which administers GEMS. Due to a decision by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in October 2017, HIGA was forced to set aside roughly $20 million for administrative costs over the program’s 20-year loan period, which effectively drained the total lending bucket from $150 million down to about $130 million.
HGIA told Pacific Business News that leaves about $44 million available to be lend.
Due to a new on-bill financing program, which was recently approved by the PUC, taking advantage of that money could become easier than ever starting this summer.
“To qualify for the on-bill finance program all you need is proof that you paid your electric utility bill on time for the past 12 months,” Gwen Yamamoto Lau, the executive director of HGIA, told Pacific Business News. “No credit score is required.”….
(IQ Test: Lending money to people who have bad credit will work out just fine T/F)
read … Mindless Waste
Unity House Scammer Ordered Off Waikiki Beach
SA: Losing bidder Star-Beachboys Inc. will have to move out to make room for the winning bidder of the Waikiki beach concession contract.
Circuit Judge Dean Ochiai denied this morning Star-Beachboys’ request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from installing the new beach concession operator.
Dive Oahu’s contract with the city was to have started last Saturday but Star-Beachboys remained in place pending today’s hearing.…
read … B-bye Rutledge
County of Maui is on ‘spend and tax’ binge
MN: Much has changed on Maui since 2000, with one of the negatives being that planned spending by Maui County is set to break $787 million — more than double its FY 2000 budget, which was $392 million after adjusting for inflation and population growth.
That works out to a per-person average of $4,780 for beleaguered Maui residents, compared with $2,382 in fiscal 2000, but it’s doubtful they are getting any greater return on their investment.
For Maui County homeowners, this has translated into an average 26 percent increase in property taxes since fiscal 2000….
read … County of Maui is on ‘spend and tax’ binge
Maui County Bill aims to crack down on illegal B&Bs
MN: …The Land Use Committee advanced the bill to the full council for the first of two readings. The measure would add into the County Code a new section on revocation and enforcement procedures for bed-and-breakfast businesses.
Under the bill, a permit may be revoked for various reasons. For example, it might be revoked if there are complaints about noise or other disturbances. Or, revocation might be the result of warnings or violations arising from investigated complaints.
The bill provides that an “owner-proprietor shall allow compliance inspections to be conducted within one-hour notice.” Refusal could result in a permit revocation.
More than a handful of bed-and-breakfast owners testified before the committee Wednesday, saying they were worried the amended ordinance could hurt legal operators.
Kihei resident Charlene Schulenburg told committee members she could be punished by someone making unjustified accusations. For example, she once had a neighbor accuse her of making ducks poop on the neighbor’s lanai.
Schulenburg, whose father, Lee, managed the old Woolworth’s store on Maui, said the bill could punish longtime residents who run permitted bed-and-breakfast businesses and follow the rules.
Another owner, Michael Dougan, said he was concerned that the bill would allow Planning Department inspectors to provide only a one-hour notice that they would be inspecting an owner’s property.
Dougan said he has two businesses, one in Kihei, where he resides, and another in Haiku. He said he received an exemption from a requirement to live on the Haiku property….
read … Bill aims to crack down on illegal B&Bs
Pahoa Business Down Sharply after BnB Shutdown Ordered
PBN: …“Right now, we’re seeing a huge decline in business,” Amedeo Markoff, who owns Puna Gallery and Gift Emporium, told Pacific Business News. “Yet, it is completely safe in Pahoa. The air is fine, the sun is out and it’s beautiful.”
Pahoa, located three miles northwest of Leilani Estates, the subdivision where lava first began erupting out of several fissures on May 3, has remained unscathed by any destruction from the volcanic activity.
But residents and businesses say they are suffering from the drastic drop in visitors and locals who frequent the town’s shops and restaurants.
“It’s crippling,” said Tiffany Hunt, who co-owns Jeff Hunt Surf Boards with her husband Jeff Hunt. “We’re losing so many of our customers. And we have a really nice mix of locals and tourists.”
Tiffany Hunt recalled the impact of the 2014 Pahoa lava flow, which she said was a draw for many tourists.
“In the last flow we had people who were coming to town for the spectacle, whereas now we’re just seeing people leaving town,” she added.
County Civil Defense officials on Saturday told vacation rental operators in the area from Kapoho to Kalapana, including Leilani Estates, to close, and Volcanoes National Park, which attracts more than 2 million tourists a year, closed indefinitely last week due to an anticipated explosive eruption.
read … Your Future Without BnBs
Will Lava Lot Owners Get Property Tax Break?
SA: …Hawaii County does reduce or eliminate real property taxes for property owners within a lava inundation zone, and is doing so for those devastated by Kilauea’s current eruption, which has destroyed more than two dozen homes in Lower Puna and made many more inaccessible.
Adjustments can be made whether the property was fully engulfed by lava, partially covered or “lava locked” and made inaccessible, Miura said. The assessed value of such property would fall to zero for 2018, and the owner would pay no property tax, she said. Any property assessed at $500 or less is exempt from property taxes, under a Hawaii County law approved last year.
Presumably, such properties would continue to be assessed at $500 or less for years to come.
Also, the Hawaii County Code Section 19-36 allows for remission of some property taxes paid in lava zones. County authorities are making adjustments for the current tax year as well as the upcoming tax year, according to Hawaii County’s Real Property Office, which posted an FAQ on the topic at 808ne.ws/lavatax. Not every affected property owner will get a credit, because of the $200 minimum tax previously required….
Related: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3
read … Big Island lava-land owners get a tax break, not a buyout