Kaka'ako bill unfairly burdens small business
But the Legislature's latest effort to boost affordable housing in the district — Senate Bill 1350 — clearly misses the mark.
The bill mandates that improvements for both commercial and residential property 20,000 square feet or larger must include a certain number of "reserved housing" units — available to those with moderate incomes also known as workforce housing — based on the square footage of the lot.
In short, a pool-supply company would be bound by the same rules as an apartment-building owner.
And before the business owner can upgrade or develop the property, that landowner would have to build reserve housing — or be forced to purchase pricey "housing credits" from a affordable housing developer.
The bill places an unrealistic burden on small-business owners in the area, particularly on those not involved in the housing business, and stifles property development at a time when the economy needs the boost.
SB 1350's overly broad requirements will discourage small landowners from improving their properties, potentially creating more blight that runs counter to redevelopment efforts.
The winners here would arguably be large housing developers, who could benefit by building excess units and cashing in on selling the credits.
Another downside: The bill imposes a moratorium on all applications for building permits for the affected properties until the Hawaii Community Development Authority adopts rules to implement the new policy — that could take more than a year. That's hardly the economic policy to set in these difficult times; Hawai'i's small businesses don't need more roadblocks. They need incentives to thrive.
Gov. Lingle rightly vetoed SB 1350 on Monday. The Legislature should sustain the veto when it meets in special session today. (LOOK! They finally mentioned the Special Session!)
Hawaii card-check option for unionizing vetoed by governor
The governor said the card-check process is a poor indicator of union support and susceptible to intimidation and coercion. She said it could also undermine the use of the secret ballot.
"Secret-ballot elections, on the other hand, provide employees with an opportunity to carefully consider their choice after being fully informed by both the union and the employer of the advantages and disadvantages of union representation," Lingle said in her veto message.
Lingle has vetoed similar bills in the past, and state House leaders said yesterday that it is unclear whether they have the two-thirds' vote necessary to override the veto. The state Senate apparently has the votes for an override.
Lawmakers will meet today in one-day veto override sessions to consider the governor's vetoes. (LOOK! They finally mentioned the Special Session!)
Funding for Hawaii child abuse prevention program being cut (thanks, HGEA)
State officials plan to slash funding for Healthy Start, a nationally recognized child-abuse prevention program that serves thousands of children in the Islands, limiting services to East Hawai'i and Leeward O'ahu, and forcing the layoffs of dozens at nonprofits with Healthy Start programs.
Healthy Start serves about 4,000 young children in the Islands, linking up with at-risk families after the birth of a child to offer home visits, lessons on parenting and other services in order to prevent child abuse.
It's unclear how many Healthy Start workers will be laid off, but officials say probably more than 100.
Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the tobacco money is needed because of continued uncertainty about the state budget, given ongoing collective bargaining with state workers.
Sources: State Discusses 7% Pay Cut Counter Offer
State officials returned to the state Department of Human Resources and Development, less than 24 hours after they heard their first official offer Monday from the unions of a 5-percent wage cut.
State negotiators went behind closed doors for an hour and a half meeting.
They discussed the possibility of a counter offer amounting to a 7-percent salary reduction for union employees, sources said. Sources said no final decisions were made.
Furlough Arbitration: Political Comeback for Former Governor John Waihee?
In a bizarre turn of events in public sector union negotiations, Hawaii Reporter learned that last week, the four island county Mayors demanded that Governor Linda Lingle appoint former Governor John Waihee to the Hawaii Government Employee Association's (HGEA) binding arbitration panel, to represent the government employers....
Hawaii Reporter was also informed that Lingle originally proposed that former Chief Labor Negotiator and Hilo attorney, Ted Hong, serve as the employers representative to the panel. Hong previously served as the employers representative in the last HGEA binding arbitration in February 2007.
Oahu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi reportedly were Hong’s most vocal opponents to being selected as the employers' representative. Both Hannemann and Kenoi were endorsed by the HGEA in their elections for Mayor.
Democrat Borreca: The ongoing soap opera of collective bargaining
The subplot, as it is in everything until the Nov. 2, 2010, election, is about the race for governor.
Hannemann says it was to get Lingle to the bargaining table. No details were released after Monday's talk session but the unions were more than happy to say the proposed deal was a 5 percent pay cut for workers.
Lingle, who had been holding firm at a 14 percent pay cut, rebuffed Hannemann, saying no meeting until she gets a formal proposal; the unions, marveling in the virtues of "informal talk story" sessions, finally blinked and gave Lingle the formal offer.
So how big a negotiator is Hannemann? Was this gubernatorial-class leadership as he skillfully steered the parties together? Those who are on the Hannemann Gubernatorial Exploratory Committee must think this is just the proof the public needs.
But how easy is it for Hannemann to get all those parties together when the final bill is given to Lingle? It is the state that picks up the bill for the main course, while the mayors are only in for pupus.
Also, Lingle was the one showing furloughs and threatening layoffs if unions didn't agree. It was Lingle who said she would not meet without a formal proposal.
Kauai: Ethics Board marches on
LIHU‘E — The county Board of Ethics renewed with a vengeance its discussion on conflicts of interest and the infamous Section 20.02(d) of the County Charter, rejecting a County Attorney opinion, repeatedly declining to go into executive session, and changing its rules to provide public discussion of county employees’ disclosure statements in a wild meeting Thursday at the Mo‘ikeha Building.
When board members arrived for the meeting, they found waiting for them a County Attorney opinion backing up the verbal claims County Attorney Al Castillo made during the executive session of the June 4 meeting, which the board used to justify clearing three county volunteers accused of violating the Charter.
The issue regained the board’s attention after member Rolf Bieber filed complaints against the volunteers earlier this year. For a detailed history of the Board of Ethics’ recent work on conflicts of interest, see the sidebar “Charter 20.02(d) timeline.”
Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask, rather than Castillo, covered the meeting and authored the opinion. For detailed coverage of Castillo’s “mysterious” absence, see the sidebar “Bieber: Castillo’s absence ‘unacceptable’.”
Honolulu Reviving the B&B bill
Bill 8, introduced in 2008, would curb advertising of illegal vacation rentals, but the City Council has allowed the bill to languish in its zoning committee for more than a year.
"They keep studying it. They're in analysis paralysis," said Kailua resident Stann Reiziss, who has testified before the Council. "In the meantime, people are still operating illegally. They're turning our residential areas into commercial areas."
Bill 8 is scheduled for Council consideration today to determine whether it should be extended for 90 days while lawmakers decide its merits.
The bill was introduced by the late Councilwoman Barbara Marshall.
Noncompliance fines would range from $1,000 to $5,000 a day.
RELATED: Owner contends rentals are legal
Firm ready to ship Oahu's trash
Whether Hawaiian Waste Systems can proceed legally is expected to be resolved today, when the City Council considers a resolution that would allow private companies to annually ship up to 150,000 tons of solid waste off island.
Private shipping would be allowed for five years or until either the city approves a contract for waste shipping or when a third boiler is operational at the city's HPOWER plant to accept more trash for conversion to energy.
AlohaCare lawsuit rejection is upheld
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down AlohaCare's effort to challenge the state's award of $1.5 billion in contracts to Mainland companies.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Aloha-Care had alleged the state's process in awarding the contracts was flawed because the request for proposals was among other things skewed in favor of for-profit health plans.
AlohaCare, which had been ruled ineligible for bidding on the contracts, had asked the federal court to void the contracts and force the state Department of Human Services to consider it an eligible participant in future procurements.
CPB parent's shares fall
The parent of Central Pacific Bank said yesterday that it expects to report a net loss of $33 million to $37 million, or $1.22 per share to $1.35 per share, during the quarter ending June 30 due to increased loan and lease losses.
The company — which lost $146 million in the second quarter of 2008 — also said it plans to issue up to $100 million in new stock, which is more than the company's current market capitalization of $75.3 million.
Shares of Central Pacific fell 91 cents yesterday to close at $2.62 on the New York Stock Exchange. The 25.8 percent decline was the largest single-day percentage drop since at least September 1987 when the company began trading on a major market.
Analysts polled by SNL Financial had been expecting a loss of 58 cents per share for the second quarter.
"The loss was higher than expected, and it looks like the offering could be very dilutive if it gets done," Albert Savastano, an analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller, told Bloomberg News.
RELATED: After Call From Senator Inouye’s Office, Small Hawaii Bank Got U.S. Aid , CPB parent to raise $100M
Japan Royals: A historic visit