Esther Kia'aina--New OHA CEO?
GE Tax Receipts Down 0.7%
$206M Short: Hawaii’s budget surplus shrinks to $750M
SA: The state general treasury ended the last fiscal year with a $750 million surplus, meaning the state government has a respectable budget cushion but not as large as it was in the previous three years.
The general treasury fund balance on June 30 was quite a bit less than Gov. David Ige’s administration projected in testimony to state lawmakers earlier this year. State Director of Budget and Finance Laurel Johnston predicted in late February the state would close out the budget year with a cash balance of more than $956 million.
Johnston said in an emailed response to questions that after she made that projection in February, state lawmakers committed hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding to various “high priority items,” including $125 million that was appropriated for emergency flood relief for Kauai and Oahu.
Lawmakers also committed $200 million to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund in the last session of the state Legislature to try to accelerate development of affordable rentals, and earmarked another $30 million in cash to finance “ohana zones” for the homeless on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii islands….
read … Hawaii’s budget surplus shrinks to $750M
10 Family Members, 4 Bedrooms And ‘A Dream To Have Your Own Place’—The Reality of ‘Monster Homes’
CB: …Living with multiple generations is a way of life in Hawaii that Jowenna Ellazar embraces. But like many others, she has few options in a city where the medium home price hovers around $800,000….
read … Meet the People the County Council is Trying to Outlaw
Council Passes Expedited Permitting Ordinance—DPP Promises to Retaliate by Slowing Occupancy Permits
KITV: … Plans for faster permitting were also up for adoption. The long application and approval process has been a problem plaguing the Dept. of Planning and Permitting.
"Right now we are at a place where we can no longer wait. We've waited for quite some time. Year ago we could get a permit in two months, some family members have been waiting over a year," said Joshua Vasconcellos, with Atlas Construction.
Bill 64 would allow single family and two family homes to undergo expedited permitting: only taking 60 days to get finished plans through.
But the director of DPP said while the permitting process may be fast tracked, rushing through those steps could lead to longer construction times because of delays during inspections. …
"It will shorten the process but at the end of the day it will take longer to get the certification of occupancy. It will take longer because there will be delays during the construction phase, and you could have to reapply for more permits," said Acting Director of DPP Kathy Sokugawa ….
read … Honolulu City Council passes housing measures
Kauai Bill 2725: Fake Affordable Housing Bill Would Squelch Development, Lock Buyers out of Real Estate Appreciation
KGI: …Bill 2725, introduced by Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, proposes an amendment to a county zoning ordinance that allows homes designated for low-income families to be sold at regular market prices after a certain number of years.
The bill’s opponents are concerned that stricter regulations will deter investors, ultimately stifling real estate development. But advocates say that legislative action is necessary to prevent the supply of affordable housing units on the island from dwindling, a result they fear will hurt economically disadvantaged families.
“Whenever any affordable unit is re-sold into the market, our efforts to achieve an expanding inventory of affordable housing units are set back because a qualified family is no longer able to afford that home,” Yukimura wrote in a guest opinion article published in the Sunday issue of The Garden Island….
“I think the problem would be, would the developer still develop it if it was required to be permanent,” Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro asked during discussion of the bill at a council meeting last month.
“I think right now looking at our housing situation, we have inclusionary zoning and we have no one building housing. So, to make the affordable housing now permanently affordable is not going to get us anymore housing units than we have now because no one is building,” he said.
Councilman and Mayor-elect Derek Kawakami also expressed concerns that the bill might have have counterintuitive effects.
“When you require someone to build below market value instead of granting them incentives such as density bonuses, we are not getting the affordable housing that we need, and stringent laws are causing developers to walk away,” he said at the last council meeting….
read … Fake Fake Fake
Hawaii County Sewer Rates to Double?
HTH: …Sewer fees will almost double during the next three years if the County Council agrees with a rate plan submitted by the Department of Environmental Management.
The current $27 monthly fee for single family and multi-family residential units would increase to $39 monthly on March 1, 2019, $46 monthly in 2020 and $52 monthly in 2021, under the plan. Nonresidential rates would increase from $22 monthly to $50 monthly March 1, to $59 monthly in 2020 and $66 monthly in 2021….
(Translation: The election is over and Councilmembers think you will forget this before 2020.)
read … Panel to consider sewer rate hike
BUSTED: Hu Honua Lies Designed to Cover Up 28.6 cents per kwh Cost of Production
IM: …Warren Lee is president of Hu Honua, a former president of HELCO and a former Director of the County of Hawai`i’s Public Works Department. His comment is near the beginning of the tape: 2:59-3:40.
“I think to answer the first question. The plant will not be operating at 36 megawatts gross. It will be operating at 21.5 megawatts net, that is the, all the data that we`ve submitted in our applications, 21.5 net, 24.5 gross  the plant, to say it bluntly, is going to be dispatched by HELCO, and it`s not going to be dispatched at 36 megawatts.
The PUC approval noted that the Consumer Advocate's Position included simple math. (22.831 MW /hour x 24 hours x 365 days = 200,000 MW/year)
“Hu Honua's estimated pricing is based on a dispatch of 200,000 MWh, which would assume a dispatch level greater than 21.5 MW.”
The 22.831 MW per hour is an average, it includes periods when the plant is off-line for maintenance and other times when it is operating at minimum load. Thus some of the time it must be operating above the average, as high as 36 gross, 30 net.
This was confirmed by Hu Honua. The PUC noted that Hu Honua's Reply Statement of Position stated that “Hu Honua expects to provide up to 30 MW of Available Capacity.”
The PUC noted that the Consumer Advocate found that the 36 MW contradicted what Hu Honua submitted to the Department of Health.
“Hu Honua's new steam power turbine generator is rated to produce 36 MW gross, and 30 MW net (i.e., the capacity available for use by HELCO), which appears inconsistent with Hu Honua's Covered Source Permit No. 0724-01-C, issued on February 18, 2016, which denotes that its steam power turbine generator is sized for 23.8 MW gross, 21.5 MW net at 0.85 power factor.”….
Levelized Cost (cents/kWh)
Original PPA Pricing (2017 dollars) 28.6
A&R PPA 22.1 (based on the 36MW lie)
(More production = Lower levelized cost. Hence the lie.)
HTH: At a cost of 22.1 cents per kilowatt hour, it’s not certain the project would help lower utility bills.
read … Intense Hu Honua Hearing Held on Big Island
Maui Enviros Panic as Real Farmer Considers Growing on former HC&S Cane Lands
MT: …“We’re pursuing and have had inquiry from a farming partner out of California, and they have an interest in farming nearly the whole footprint of land. We’re in discussions with them looking at growing a whole variety of food crops,” A&B’s general manager of diversified agriculture on Maui, Darren Strand, told members of the Board of Land and Natural Resources during the Nov. 9 meeting. The statements were part of A&B’s request to renew the permit that allows it to take 80 million gallons per day of stream water from state lands.
“This group has an aligned vision with ours, they have extensive farming expertise, a solid source of funding, established marketing channels, and also an interest in the entire footprint, which is a combination of promising attributes that we haven’t seen from the any of the hundreds of other parties that we’ve talked to in the past,” A&B Vice President Meredith Ching told the board. “They’re in their final stages of feasibility analysis of a farming operation, at the end of scale, to plant the entire plantation footprint and if they decide to proceed, planting will possibly begin in 2019.”…
(Begin cranking Eco-Hysteria Machine)
“I am disappointed that they move ahead in such secrecy without involving the community,” Councilmember Kelly King, a frontrunner to be chair of the new County Council-elect, told me “I understand that it’s private property, but it involves everyone in Maui County. We would have hoped that as a parent company, and one that participates in the community on so many other levels, that they would be concerned in wanting the community involved in the discussions leading up to the decisions, instead of making these decisions and then dropping them on the community without so much as holding a public meeting.”
“Where the land goes and who owns it affects everybody on the island,” she added, “and I have concerns about who that’s going to be, what they’re going to be farming, and what chemicals they may be using – and all these things should really be coming to the community.”…
(More phony hype….)
When Greenleaf heard the comments made by the State of Hawai‘i official regarding the sale of 55,000 acres of A&B’s Maui land holdings, he wrote a letter to Governor David Ige.
He questioned why an “Eco Development group from Chicago who have 40 years of experience in the business of repurposing large tracts of land” was suddenly shut out of negotiations.
(IQ Test: Is the ‘eco-development group from Chicago’ real?)
One organization, Food Security Hawai‘i, has been interested in the possibility of purchasing the Central Valley land to lease to farmers for local food production….“We have a master plan for farming in the Central Valley,” said Susan Campbell of Food Security Hawai‘i. “We did an extensive land search in the Hawaiian Islands and this [Important Agricultural Land] in the Central Valley is the only land that has the ability to create food security for the Hawaiian Islands. (Translation: Amp up the hysteria.)
(IQ Test: Is ‘Food Security Hawai’i’ real?)
At the Nov. 9 meeting, the BLNR approved A&B’s request for a third holdover permit to continue water diversion of East Maui streams, with an amendment that included the formation of an “interim committee to discuss water usage issues in the license area.” The committee will consist of five members representing Alexander & Baldwin, Farm Bureau, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, and the County of Maui, and will meet once a month for the first quarter, then at least quarterly thereafter.
This begs the question, why is Alexander and Baldwin allowed to continue diverting water from state lands if the company’s intent is to sell its agricultural holdings?
(Answer: Because any farming operation purchasing that land will need the water to go with it.)
(IQ Test: Did you know that already?)
read … Enviros Panic
Money is the sticking point for striking hotel workers
SA: …Local 5 has stopped discussing details of their current bargaining; however, when the strike started they were seeking a $3-hourly-wage increase and Kyo-ya had offered a 70-cent-hike for wages and benefits. The average Local 5 housekeeper makes $22 an hour.
Local 5 spokeswoman Paola Rodelas said the union doesn’t know what the current wage differential is between Local 5 workers and non-union hospitality workers. However, in 2015, the most recent wage survey data available, Rodelas said Local 5 housekeepers averaged $19.44 an hour as compared to non-union housekeepers who averaged $15.43….
Marriott is advertising that it will pay $23 an hour plus bonuses to temporary workers. Marriott also has hired local contract companies to provide staffing and it’s flying in workers from its properties across the country….
read … Money is the sticking point for striking hotel workers
Two Inmates Alleged Beatings by HCC Guards
HTH: …The complaint alleges unnamed adult correction officers entered his cell on an unspecified date in January 2016 and administered a beating that broke facial bones and caused facial lacerations. Sexton further alleges he was confined in his cell for at least 12 hours after the alleged attack without being allowed to seek medical treatment. He was later taken to the infirmary, the suit states.
Sexton claims to have suffered “permanent disfigurement as the result of the beating,” that he continues to suffer emotional and psychologically, and that his “physical condition worsened as the result of … not being taken for medical care immediately.”
Sexton’s lawsuit is at least the second filed within the past year-and-a-half by an inmate alleging physical abuse by HCCC guards.
A civil suit filed June 14, 2017, by inmate Chawn Kaili against DPS, retired warden Peter MacDonald, ACO watch commander Jon Waikiki, former ACO Sgt. Jonathan Taum, and former guards Gregory Pinkney, Jason Tagaloa and Jonathan Demattos alleges Kaili was unlawfully restrained and battered by guards on June 15, 2015.
Kaili’s suit, which hasn’t been settled, claims Taum, Pinkney, Tagaloa and Demattos were part of a group of guards known as the “Alpha Dawgs,” who “used their positions of authority to intimidate and attempt to intimidate inmates.”
read … HCC
Hawaii Democrats Should ‘stop kowtowing to entrenched special interests’
HNN: … Hawaii Democrats have now secured complete control of government in our state.
So – they have no one to blame but themselves if they continue to fail to bring real improvement to the quality of life in Hawaii.
They have little to worry about the Republicans rising up and seizing any meaningful power – at least not for the foreseeable future.
Tragically, the republicans have shown more skill at sabotaging each other than gaining traction with voters.
So now that you've won a landslide you've earned the duty to deal with issues like affordable housing, the cost of living, homelessness, transportation and health care.
It’s time to stop rubber stamping old ways and kowtowing to entrenched special interests….
read … Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely