Lane Cat 4: Hurricane Warning for Oahu, Maui County, Hawaii County
DBEDT Slashes Hawaii economic growth projection from 1.9% to 1.5%
Who Really Won the OHA Election?
New Rabies Quarantine Rules Announced
GET spending: As Hurricane Approaches, Hawaii County Council debates How to Waste Every Penny
HTH: Bill 169 passed its first of two required readings 7-1, with Kohala Councilman Tim Richards voting no and Puna Councilwoman Jen Ruggles absent.
“We don’t need to spend every cent we raise,” Richards said. “I cannot support increasing our spending until we know what’s going on.”
Richards, a reluctant supporter of the GET surcharge, said he voted for the tax hike because of the financial crisis, but wants $5 million of it socked away.
“We’ve gone through volcanoes, one hurricane, wildfires and now another hurricane,” Richards said, suggesting the county, “pump the brakes a little bit.”
“It’s not bad to have a reserve of $5 million because we don’t know what’s coming forward,” he said.
Several other council members questioned whether all the money should be earmarked now, without knowing what other expenses could be more pressing.
“This weekend we might have another event and we might need this money elsewhere,” said Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy. “What if we just slowed down a little bit and just hold it in this account. … I am a little concerned we may be moving too quickly.”
Of the $10 million in the new GET fund, $3.8 million covers the mass transit costs formerly in the general fund, $1.8 million will buy new buses, $1.6 million will create additional bus routes, $700,000 will go for technology improvements in the Hele-On bus system, $500,000 will go for bus shelters and $100,000 for bus stop signs. The remaining $1.5 million is slated for improvements on two Kona roads: Oneo Lane and the Ane Keohokalole extension.
(Translation: Most of it will be wasted by the incompetent Hele On Bus system.)
The general fund was reduced by $3.9 million to account for property tax revenues lost from Puna properties lost or devalued because of the lava flow.
Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara asked why commercial properties in Pahoa and Volcano aren’t also seeing property tax reductions to account for their lost business.
May, 2018: Hawaii County Audit Finds Bundles of Cash in Breakroom
read … GET spending: Council debates allocating, saving, general excise tax revenues
Hurricane Lane Price Caps Will Worsen Shortages
CB: Hawaii Gov. David Ige declared a state of emergency this week, which among other things, triggers a state law that caps the prices of all goods in the state during the duration of the emergency. Although well-intentioned, the price cap is likely to exacerbate shortages and lead to a misallocation of emergency goods.
Hawaii state law requires that, “Whenever the governor declares a state of emergency for the entire State or any portion thereof … there shall be prohibited any increase in the selling price of any commodity, whether at retail or wholesale level.”
These types of “price gouging” laws have typically worsened shortages and led to a misallocation of resources, according to a study published by the Journal of Competition Law & Economics, which examined the effects of price-gouging laws on gasoline during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. According to the study, the price controls typically resulted in either shortages or long lines, disproportionately affecting lower-income families and consumers in rural areas.
The problem is that price caps do not incentivize suppliers to incur the additional costs needed to rush goods to the affected area, or to transport goods to rural areas. As the researchers wrote, price caps “make shortages worse by reducing the incentive to provide additional supplies.” This also causes shortages to last longer than they otherwise would, said the researchers.
Rather than price controls, the researchers recommended letting the natural price system solve shortages through “surge pricing,” which incentivizes suppliers to spring into action.….
read … Hurricane Lane Price Caps Will Worsen Shortages
High Cost of Industrial Real estate contributes to Hawaii's empty shelves as hurricane approaches
PBN: The empty supermarket shelves Hawaii residents are finding this week as they try to prepare for Hurricane Lane are a byproduct of the cost of shipping and industrial real estate in the Islands.
Supermarkets and even Walmart and Costco ran out of water, bread and other non-perishables as people tried to prepare for the arrival of the Category 4 storm, which already began dropping rain on parts of the Big Island Wednesday.
Unlike places on the Mainland, where goods can be shipped by rail or truck from large warehouses to stock stores, it’s not unusual to see empty shelves in Hawaii stores a day or two before the latest containership arrives.
That’s because retailers use as-needed shipping, meaning they ship food and other goods, such as toilet paper, directly to the stores on a regular basis instead of storing large quantities in a warehouse.
“To warehouse here is absurdly expensive,” said Mark Ambard of the Kailua-based commercial real estate firm Ambard & Co. “We have no way to keep two weeks of supplies for the entire population on the island, it’s not possible.”…
CB: Hurricane Closes Hawaii’s Harbors, Freezing A Fragile Supply Chain
read … Real estate contributes to Hawaii's empty shelves as hurricane approaches
Nearly 49K Hawaii homes at extreme, very high risk of flooding from Hurricane Lane
PBN: …Nearly 49,000 single-family homes in Hawaii are at extreme risk or very high risk of suffering flood damage from a hurricane such as Hurricane Lane and have a total reconstruction cost value of some $8 billion, according to an analysis by CoreLogic.
There are 48,617 homes in Hawaii — the majority of which are on Oahu — that are at extreme or very high risk of flood damage from the Category 4 storm, CoreLogic said.
Oahu has the most — 36,083 homes at extreme or very high risk of flood damage, with a total reconstruction value of $5 billion. Of those, just 2,312 are in the extreme risk category, with a total reconstructive value of nearly $617 million, while 33,771 are at high risk, with a total value of more than $5.1 billion, the CoreLogic analysis shows.
Another 27,182 homes on Oahu are at high risk of flooding, but conversely, 107,629 Oahu homes range from moderate to very low risk of flooding during a hurricane.
Maui had the second-highest number of homes at risk with 7,143 homes at extreme or very risk of flooding, with a total reconstructive value of more than $1 billion, followed by Kauai with 3,510 homes and a reconstruction value of more than $923 million, and the Big Island has the fewest with 1,881 homes with a value of more than $424,000….
CB: Caldwell: City Tries To Mitigate Flood Danger, But Don’t Count On It
read … Nearly 49K Hawaii homes at extreme, very high risk of flooding from Hurricane Lane
Star-Adv: Keep the Peasants off Mauna Kea
SA: …An encouraging move in that direction will surely gain traction next month, when the university holds the first in a series of public hearings on draft administrative rules governing public and commercial activities on UH-managed lands on the state’s tallest mountain. Among the proposals is a sensible call to install a gate to limit vehicular access….
In 2015, when Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services installed a traffic counter near the summit, it found that observatory and UH staff accounted for about 20 percent of a month-long tally of nearly 4,700 vehicles.
It’s a sure bet that vehicle count is climbing. This week, the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, situated a few thousand feet below the summit, announced that it will now be closed Sundays as it needs a day to recover from a significant increase in visitors since the May closure of a large portion of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park due to lava activity.
The UH’s draft rules would also require permits for public assemblies and make camping off-limits. In addition, they would put restrictions on commercial tours and winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding….
Further, the rules make clear support for state laws and Hawaii Constitution direction that allow Native Hawaiians to exercise customary and traditional practices at Mauna Kea, which is viewed by some as a sacred site. No permit would be required when practices have minimal impact on cultural, natural and scientific resources.
Following a state Supreme Court ruling this month against a Thirty Meter Telescope opponent, it appears that the controversial $1.4 billion project now needs only to secure a court-approved conditional use permit to proceed with construction atop Mauna Kea….
read … Sacred Means ‘For Us Only’
Marijuana is the Future of Hawaii Tourism
LAT: Out-of-state medical marijuana users next year will be able to buy cannabis products at dispensaries in Hawaii. The only hitches: Visitors will need to apply online and pay $45 (plus a $4.50 processing fee) for a temporary Hawaii medical marijuana card that’s valid for 60 days.
“We’ve been fielding a lot of calls daily about reciprocity,” said George Bullock, director of the Cure Oahu marijuana dispensary in Waikiki. “We really look forward to being able to serve them in the future.”
The Hawaii Department of Health plans to allow medical marijuana cardholders from other states to make purchases at dispensaries on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. But state officials are not using the word “reciprocity” because those out-of-state cards won’t work.
Also, participants must have a “debilitating condition,” as defined by Hawaii regulators. They include epilepsy, (paranoia), cancer, (munchies), and Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. The online application process and website have yet to be created….
read … By next year, you can buy medical marijuana in Hawaii, but you'll still have to jump through some hoops
Buy High, Sell Low: Trend-Follower Gabbard a Loser on Bitcoin
CT: Hawaii’s Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard has joined the list of U.S. politicians who have invested in cryptocurrency, having disclosed purchases of Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH), Bloomberg reports Thursday, August 23.
Citing an income filing from August 14, the publication notes Gabbard purchased between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of the two assets at some point in December 2017.
At the time, both were highly volatile, rising steeply towards the end of the month after Bitcoin(BTC) hit all-time highs around $20,000.
Depending on the exact date of the purchases, Gabbard could have secured ETH and LTC for as little as $444 and $87 or as much as $814 and $344 respectively, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
The value of both has since sunk below the December minimums as part of an overall cryptocurrency market slump which has continued throughout 2018.
read … Buy High, Sell Low
Hurricane Lane News: