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Saturday, October 12, 2019
October 12, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:25 PM :: 3039 Views

NYT: What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?

HECO rolling Blackouts Possible Due to Failure of Wind, Solar

Hawaii 3rd-Lowest Uninsured

Kym Pine Supporting Tulsi Gabbard

AP: … "People need to understand why Tulsi Gabbard is doing this. It's very important, because it's not for her. It's for the honor of the many people that she represents that have suffered in a lot of these different wars," said Kymberly Marcos Pine, a supporter and member of the Honolulu City Council.

Pine thinks Gabbard will stay in the presidential race so long as she's able to raise money to spread her message ….

In recent days Kai Kahele has been meeting with nurses on Maui, joined an LGBTQ meet-and-greet in Honolulu and celebrated Rosh Hashanah with a synagogue on the Big Island …. 

Cataluna: Boycotting debate hurts only Tulsi Gabbard

HP: “She’s got a fucking tiger on her tail, and she’s gonna be in trouble”

Background: Poll: Gabbard Crushes Kahele 48% to 26%

read … Running for president, Gabbard faces challenge in Hawaii

Cost of Not Enforcing the Law: Government agencies have spent nearly $10M so far on their response to TMT protest

HNN: … The cost to state and county government agencies to respond to the ongoing Thirty Meter Telescope protest at Mauna Kea now tops $9.9 million, new figures show.

The Attorney General’s Office said Friday that its office, Hawaii National Guard, Department of Public Safety and state Department of Land and Natural Resources have now spent a combined $5.3 million.

Those costs went to personnel at the site of the protest and equipment.

“I’m committed to enforcing the law and finding a peaceful way forward. A lot of those preparations I think allowed us to be thoughtful in our approach, of the difference of opinion and I will continue to authorize the expenditure of resources that I believe can help us arrive at a peaceful resolution,” said Gov. David Ige in an interview Monday with Hawaii News Now.

Earlier this month, Hawaii County had put the cost of its response to the protest at $4.4 million.

The Maui Police Department has said the cost of overtime for its officers was $68,000, while the Honolulu Police Department said it cost $162,000 to send officers to the Big Island.

The protest at the base of Mauna Kea is now in its 89th day…

read … Government agencies have spent nearly $10M so far on their response to TMT protest

Telescope: THINK Fund surpasses 100-scholarship milestone

HTH: … A fund established by the Thirty Meter Telescope that awards scholarships to Big Island science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, students has granted more than 100 scholarships during the past four years.

Hawaii New Knowledge Fund — or THINK Fund — has awarded 105 college scholarships to Big Island students through the Hawaii Community Foundation since 2015, TMT announced earlier this week….

(B-b-but how can OHA get money from scholarships?)

read … THINK Fund surpasses 100-scholarship milestone

Property Taxes Could Quadruple for Legal B&Bs

SA: … The city is slated to begin issuing up to 1,700 new permits for “hosted” bed-and-breakfast operations starting October 2020 under the wide-ranging vacation rental ordinance that was approved by the Council and signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell in June.

All those obtaining permits would be placed in the new “Bed and Breakfast Home” property tax category, along with about 38 B&Bs now operating legally through nonconforming use permits issued through 1989.

Bill 55, which won first-reading approval from the Council on Wednesday and will likely be taken up by the Budget Committee on Oct. 23, does not establish what the rate for the new category would be. Tax rates for each category are determined by ordinance by the Council each June.

But it’s likely the rate will fall somewhere between that of the standard residential category (currently $3.50 for every $1,000 of assessed value) and the hotel-resort category (which rose by $1 to $13.90 per $1,000 for this year).

read … Yet Another Tax Hike

Legislators Enact Special Fees then Forget to Spend Them

SA: … If money keeps piling up in a bank account, either a plan for how to spend it effectively is needed — or perhaps the money isn’t needed at all.

That has started to dawn on those who are monitoring four special funds established to underwrite the cost of regulating financial institutions, the cable industry and condominiums. Example: One fund was created nine years ago to regulate mortgage companies, but nothing has been spent. The $1.8 million that has accrued as of 2018 is still just sitting there.

State officials already have reduced what they’re collecting from such funds or, in the case of the mortgage fund to help consumers harmed in bad lending practices, taken a hiatus from collecting anything. That’s at least a start.

The question is: Shouldn’t some of these funds be dismantled altogether? …

Related: Businesses get a break on state fees after funds go unspent

read … Editorial: Hard look at special fees

Skyrocketing electric bills have Ewa residents demanding audit

HNN: … Kapilina Beach Homes residents voiced their concerns about skyrocketing electric bills ― some topping $1,000 ― to the Ewa Neighborhood Board Thursday night.

"Most people’s rates have gone up at least 50% in the past nine months. It’s getting to the point where residents in Iroquois can’t afford to live there but they can’t afford the $6,000 it cost to break the lease,” said Kapilina Beach Homes resident Erik Myers.

“It’s becoming very detrimental to the betterment of parents and their families.”

Residents didn't get many answers from board members, which left some residents feeling even more frustrated.

Myers says there are about 1,400 homes in Ewa Beach gated community and some residents’ electricity bills have topped $1,000 a month.

He asked board members for their help in installing monitoring systems to track consumption.

The bills started creeping up at the start of the year. Charles Johnson said he paid about $200 for electricity in February. Now, his bill is approximately $1,000….

Valinda Thomason’s electric bill is due next week.

She asked the neighborhood board for help in demanding an audit.

"We're also concerned because when we do speak out about Kapilina, we are told that we will not have our lease renewed," Thomason said.

State Rep. Bob McDermott and state Sen. Kurt Favella will be holding a town hall meeting to better address these concerns….

read … Skyrocketing electric bills have Ewa residents demanding audit

Molokai residents outraged over conditions at island’s only health center

HNN: … Some Molokai residents are calling for the head of the island’s only community health center to resign after the facility was forced to close for four days in August because of staff shortages.

More than 150 Molokai residents gathered in a community meeting two weeks ago to voice their concerns about the Molokai Community Health Center.

“The parents were crying because the children couldn’t have medication when they closed down,” said Judy Caparida, a lifelong Molokai resident.

Solene Duvauchelle says the partial closure had ripple effects throughout the community.

“My dad is one of the patients there. He tried to get his medication refilled, nobody answered,” Duvauchelle said. “No explanation. My dad needs his heart medicine on a daily basis. I ended up taking him to the ER. We had to admit him into the ER.”…

MCHC is a federally qualified health center that provides medical, dental, behavioral health, health education and prevention services to more than 2,300 people on Molokai including many low-income families….

read … Molokai residents outraged over conditions at island’s only health center

BLNR: Mahi Pono Gets Water for a Year

MN: … The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday unanimously approved a one-year permit allowing Alexander & Baldwin to continue to divert water from East Maui streams on state lands in 2020 — and increased the draw by 10 million gallons a day over staff recommendations.

The increased draw was for budding agricultural operations for Mahi Pono, which purchased A&B’s old sugar fields in Central Maui and Upcountry. Mahi Pono, which put its first crops into the ground in August, essentially received the amount of water it requested from the board.

BNLR’s six members unanimously agreed to a cap of 45 mgd. Of that amount, 5 mgd would supply various state projects and the county Department of Water Supply for municipal purposes, including domestic use.

A&B has never had a cap before on the one-year revocable permits…

State Department of Land and Natural Resource staff recommended a cap of 35 mgd; the Sierra Club of Hawaii sought a denial of the permit or a cap of 25 mgd, the amount currently being drawn; the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. and Office of Hawaiian Affairs sought to have BLNR defer its vote until more information was gathered.

DLNR staff came up with its 35 mgd proposal by calculating the daily average of the six highest month’s draws from January 2017, after sugar operations ceased, to April. That average was 33.45 mgd. In addition, Mahi Pono said in May that EMI would draw between 30 to 35 mgd this year, which includes county water for about 35,000 Upcountry residents….

read … State board OKs more water for Mahi Pono

Study: Hawaii falls behind energy policy and incentives

PBN: … Hawaii scored poorly in two main criteria: It was 4th-worst in number of policies and incentives encouraging renewable energy development and 12th-worst in the five-year change in renewable energy output.

While Hawaii was still able to crack the top 20, one big factor that kept Hawaii out of the top 10 list was its lack of policy.

Similar to the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy published last month, Hawaii lagged behind when it came to policy despite it being the first state to lead the charge toward 100% renewable portfolio standards.

"One metric in particular that prevents Hawaii from cracking the top 10 states is the number of policies and incentives encouraging renewable energy development," Kara Gibson, spokesperson for SmartAsset told Pacific Business News. "According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, Hawaii has the fourth-lowest number of policies and incentives compared to all 50 states." …

Link: States Leading the Charge on Renewable Energy – 2019 Edition

read … Study: Hawaii falls behind energy policy and incentives

HHS Secretary Touts First Amendment Work in Hawaii

DS: … Hawaii and California violated federal conscience laws by trying to force pro-life organizations to make abortion referrals, the secretary told the crowd.

“We also took major actions against Hawaii and California to protect the conscience rights of pro-life pregnancy centers when state laws coerced these centers into posting notices that referred women to abortion providers,” Azar said. “We issued an unprecedented notice of violation. As a result of that action, Hawaii signed a resolution agreement with the Trump administration not to enforce its own discriminatory law.”…


read … HHS Secretary Calls Trump Most Pro-Life President Ever

Plastic marine debris on Hawaii’s windward coasts comes mostly from abroad, study finds

SA: … A study conducted at Hawaii Pacific University has found that the majority of marine debris washing up on Hawaii’s shores is not from the isles, but from abroad.

While the pollution on leeward beaches typically originates from Hawaii tourists and residents, the greater volume of debris on the windward side of the isles is being swept in from faraway places.

“The far majority of plastic pollution in the Hawaiian marine environment is washing ashore from long, long distances on our windward beaches, where we have fewer residents and tourists,” said Jennifer Lynch, co-director of HPU’s Center for Marine Debris Research. “So our residents and tourists aren’t to blame for the far majority of marine debris here in the islands. We need to be looking outside of the state for the sources of what’s coming to us.”

The study was recently published in Environmental Science &Technology, a peer-reviewed journal….

LINK: Marine Debris Polymers on Main Hawaiian Island Beaches, Sea Surface, and Seafloor

read … Plastic marine debris on Hawaii’s windward coasts comes mostly from abroad, study finds

Kawaiahao iwi still stored in church basement after years long controversy

HNN: … The Oahu Island Burial Council gets involved when iwi have been discovered during a project. The council has been has been advocating for Hawaiian families involved with the Kawaiahao issue, but the frustration over the government bureaucracy was palpable.

"Now we have this long standing issue and at every turn it's going to be a battle of people behind paper and pen. God," said Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, burial council chair.

Kalai says families will meet in a couple weeks to finalize their burial treatment plan. She says it leaves no room for future development….

read … Kawaiahao iwi still stored in church basement after years long controversy

Charged with Rape While on Work-Release, Inmate Sues Warden

KGI: … “My reputation got injured when they label me as a sex offender,” Makanani wrote, saying the defendants named in his lawsuit conspired to label and treat him as though he were presumed guilty.

Makanani was indicted on sexual assault charges last year for an incident that allegedly took place in August 2018, when he was out of jail on a work-release program. Makanani admitted to having sex with the woman but has maintained the affair was consensual.

The case was dropped in May when a Fifth Circuit Court judge ruled that statements Makanani made to a correctional officer were inadmissible in court because he was questioned without being appropriately informed of his right to remain silent. Because the grand jury’s decision was based, in part, on those statements, the indictment was found to be invalid, and the entire case was dismissed.

County prosecutors were undeterred and obtained a second grand jury indictment about a month later. Makanani is currently being held in Halawa Correctional Facility on $500,000 bail. His trial is tentatively set for Oct. 28….

read … Former inmate sues KCCC warden

Telescope News:



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