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Thursday, February 19, 2015
February 19, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:15 PM :: 3499 Views

Lawsuit Challenges Secrecy of Kanaiolowalu Roll Commission

Big Island Group Proposes Electric Co-Op

AEI: Retire the Jones Act

Ige Rejects Activists, Appoints DeCoite to HD 13 Vacancy

HCR33: Will Legislators Ask OHA to Help State Create Fake Indian Tribe?

Scorecard: House Omnibus Marijuana Package

Senate Schedules Confirmation Hearing for Controversial DLNR Appointee

Gallup: Alaska, Hawaii Lead the United States in Well-Being

The Hawaii Democratic Party Wants Farmers Out of Business

Creating Fake Crisis to Push Tax Hike, Council pretends to remove bus funds from rail money plan

KHON: HART officials say they will work with the Honolulu City Council and the mayor to remove the bus money from their plan....

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell agrees the bus funds should never be taken to pay for rail (empty words), but he also notes the federal government’s approval is needed to remove it from the plan. (Translation: This is all fake.  The bus funds are still part of the plan.) In order for that to happen, HART would need to find another source of funds. (Which is the entire point--to stampede the legislature into hiking GE Taxes.)

Next week, four city council members will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Federal Transit Administration to talk about rail, bus funds and possible financial options.

read ... Shell Game

Hawaii Legislature should be fixing our tax system instead of making it worse

CB: Hawaii already punishes our poor people too much. We extract more sales tax from our low-income residents than any other state and now the Legislature is considering making this disgraceful situation worse.

Look at the numbers. Hawaii’s poorest 20 percent pay 11 percent of their income in excise taxes which represents 80 percent of their total tax bill, highest in the nation. Compare this to our richest 20 percent who spend about 3 percent of their income as excise taxes.

We all know that consumption taxes are extremely regressive, and this is doubly painful here with the nation’s highest cost of living. Hawaii’s unfair tax system is a product of the state Legislature, so they should be trying to fix it instead of making it worse.

It’s not just the lower incomes that feel pressures from our cost of living and strained economy. We are in the bottom five states for disposable income, and are ranked toward the bottom by many standards of economic well-being — we’ve heard the story too many times before. Hawaii has a huge excise tax already, ranking in the nation’s top seven states for reliance on sales and excise taxes, yet all but two of those top seven exempt food and drugs. We are the worst. The average state collects 34 percent of its revenue from sales tax while Hawaii collects 49 percent.

Another unfair aspect of the rail tax is that everyone is paying and yet only a tiny fraction, perhaps less than 3 percent, would ever ride it. With a local cost approaching $6 billion, divided by our 1 million people, it would cost $6,000 per person, which most people, especially the poor, don’t have to throw away on such a useless item.

read ... Dennis Callan

Regulators Reject Petitions to Delay NextEra’s Purchase of HECO

CB: State regulators have rejected two petitions filed by a broad coalition of environmental, community and solar energy groups seeking a delay in their review of Florida-based NextEra Energy’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, including debt.

But proponents of the petitions said the action left room for them to be reconsidered.

The petitions argue that the Public Utilities Commission needs to first rule on key cases before it that are expected to provide greater clarity and direction to both the utility’s plans for adopting more renewable energy sources and its future business model.

One of the petitions also argues that the acquisition of HECO, which owns the utilities on Oahu, the Big Island and in Maui County, should be opened up to other companies.

IM: If you were Governor of Hawai`i, how would you shape energy policy?

read ... Rejected

Health Connector Padded Rolls By Dumping 7,500 Medicaid Patients into Obamacare 

PBN: Some 13,356 Hawaii residents signed up for health insurance coverage via the Hawaii Health Connector during the three-month enrollment period that ended on Sunday, more than six times the number that signed up on the state's online health insurance exchange during the same period last year.

Approximately 3,000 more residents are being processed for either Medicaid or a plan under the connector, according to the online health insurance exchange's executive director, Jeffrey Kissel....

About 7,500 residents previously enrolled in Medicaid have been transferred from the state Department of Human Services to the connector, in preparation for a state policy switch that ends Medicaid assistance to residents eligible for coverage under the connector.....

read ... Taking a Page from Kanaiolowalu Playbook

Bob Jones: Obamacare Unworkable

MW: Oh, then came the exemptions. This business and that union didn’t have to comply with this or that regulation right now. But the general citizenry would have to. Oh, the sign-up system didn’t work, so you get a year’s exemption while it’s fixed.

Oh, wait, sorry, you can’t keep the health insurance plan you had, when President Obama repeatedly said you could. People we all knew had very minimal-coverage plans that could no longer be sold by participating insurers.

Oh, and you signed up and got a subsidy because of low income. Last year you got a better-paying job. Now you owe Uncle Sam a refund and you don’t have that in the bank and have to borrow money. So maybe an exemption this time? We’re up to 4 million people exempted, 3 percent of the population — half who signed up last year.

Then there are the Medicare cuts and the quality-instead-of-quantity care directive. Individual doctors are dumping Medicare patients. They and hospitals are graded on results with sick patients. Great. But you and I know many patients aren’t health-minded. They won’t change diets. They ignore critical medicines. The issue is worse in poor and immigrant neighborhoods.

Why should my doctor get penalized if I’ll do nothing to keep my blood pressure and weight under control?

If Medicare Advantage is forced to eliminate gym memberships, how does that help me to keep healthy?

Obamacare became a mess.

We healthcare progressives have to start acknowledging that in public....

read ... Unworkable

Taxing TVRs: Five Bills Still Alive

SA: Five bills are the only ones still alive out of the dozen introduced by legislators on the controversial topic:

» Senate Bills 201 and 519 were passed by three Senate committees — Tourism and International Affairs, Commerce and Consumer Protection and Judiciary and Labor — during their hearing on Wednesday. SB 201 would add single-family dwellings to the definition of transient accommodations.

It would also require the Department of Taxation to manage a public database, which takes effect on Jan. 1, of all registered transient accommodation and resort time-share vacation-plan businesses. Another key provision is that the bill makes failure to register as a business of furnishing transient accommodations a Class C felony rather than a misdemeanor.

Lawmakers addressed advertising in SB 519, which would require time-share and transient owners to display registration numbers and addresses on Internet advertisements. The committees also amended the language in the bill to add a civil penalty with escalating daily fines for any person failing to follow the advertising rule.

» Senate Bill 409, which was introduced by Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, is slated to be heard on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 229 at the state Capitol. The bill seeks to clarify county zoning by allowing phasing out of nonconforming single-family transient vacation rentals.

» House Bills 198 and 201, which would also seek to clarify county zoning in regard to vacation rentals, were both referred to the Water and Land and Finance committees but haven't yet been scheduled for hearings.

read ... Another Tax Hike

Tobacco Tax: Just Another Fund to be Raided

SA: The amount of settlement funds allotted to state-administered tobacco prevention programs has been reduced over the years and now — 15 years after the states reached more than $246 billion in legal settlements against the tobacco industry — Hawaii spends only 62 percent of the tobacco prevention spending level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pressler said.

Since 2010, Hawaii legislators facing recessionary shortfalls and trying to balance the state budget have taken a bite out of the settlement funds.

Currently, the Health Department receives 15 percent of the annual funding, or about $7.5 million of the $50 million settlement payment to Hawaii, while the Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, which is also administered by the department, receives 6.5 percent, or roughly $3 million, of the settlement, officials said....

...states on average provided just 13 percent of the CDC-recommended tobacco prevention funding, and only two states — North Dakota and Alaska — were funding programs at the recommended level....

read ... Tobacco Tax

SB118: Senators Strip REIT Tax Hike Out of Bill

CB: The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to amend Senate Bill 118 to ask the state to simply study the issue and report back to the Legislature in December....

“The department is only concerned that if you pull this particular tax benefit they may not invest in Hawaii,” Mark Yee, an administrative rules specialist at the tax department, told the panel. He also noted that the trusts could shift their investments to cheaper tax jurisdictions offshore.

“Just because you impose an income tax doesn’t mean that they will pay income tax,” Yee said....

“If Hawaii were to enact SB 118 it would not be viewed as an attractive place for real estate investment capital,” said Dara Bernstein, an attorney with NAREIT, who flew to Hawaii from Washington, D.C., to urge rejection of the measure.

The national lobbying group also enlisted public relations help from the local firm Stryker Weiner & Yokota and hired experienced local lobbyists from Ashford and Wriston.

Several local organizations and companies also opposed the measure, including the Hawaii Association of Realtors; Building Industry Association; Pacific Resource Partnership; Land Use Research Foundation; and numerous companies that operate in Hawaii as real estate investment trusts or do business with them.

Although the Legislature has considered similar proposals before, this is the first year that the bill has received significant support.

More than 75 people submitted testimony in favor of the measure, including business owners such as Steven Sofos of Sofos Realty Corporation; Colbert Matsumoto of Island Insurance; and real estate developer Peter Savio of The Savio Group....

Numerous unions also advocated for the measure, including the Hawaii Government Employees Association; the Hawaii State Teachers Association; Unite Here Local 5, which represents service workers; and Hawaii State AFL-CIO, a consortium of unions.

read ... No Tax Hike for Now

Hawaii County: Little Chance for TAT Cap to be Lifted

WHT: Removing the cap on the TAT, put there by state lawmakers when the state was going through the recession, is one of two TAT resolutions the county is sending the state. The counties want the state to return to previous allocations of 44.8 percent of the total collected.

“The original tax was meant for the counties, with only a small administration amount for the state,” said Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, the only no vote on one of the resolutions. “The people that wanted this bill … stood and said this cap would be removed when the economy improved … explicitly.”

Several council members have also been flying to Honolulu and lobbying personally on the TAT and other issues that are county priorities.

There’s only a slim chance the Legislature will approve the changes. Both of the House bills, sponsored by Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, D-Puna, were killed Wednesday in the House Tourism Committee.

The other resolution urges the Legislature to remove the 2016 sunset date of a measure that had increased the county’s share of the TAT from $93 million to $103 million. Without the change, the counties will once again have to split $93 million.

Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, the council’s legislative liaison, said he preferred removing the cap, but he’s supporting both bills.

“They’re not going to remove the cap,” Onishi said. “I don’t think it will happen, I’m just supporting the bill.”

read ... $103M

Hawaii Teachers Salaries 19th Highest in USA, Dead Last When Cost of Living Factors in

MN: Five years ago when we originally wrote about the subject, Hawaii ranked last among the states. At that time, our average teacher salary was $49,292. That placed us 15th in average salary in the nation. The problem was we had, by far, the highest cost of living.

So how does Teacherportal.com rank us now? Its latest rankings show average teacher pay has grown to $54,300. Unfortunately, we have slipped to 19th in average pay. And we are still ranked 50th out of the 50 states in the ability of teachers to live comfortably on their salary.

The No. 1 ranked state by "comfort level" is Wyoming. Although its average teacher pay is only $1,000 more per year than Hawaii, it is obvious that the cost of living is much cheaper than Hawaii.

One very interesting cost factor to note is that Hawaii has the highest electric rates in the country - Wyoming has the fifth cheapest. In November 2014, Hawaii residential consumers were paying 35.06 cents per kilowatt hour - Wyoming residents were paying 10.66 cents per kwh.

read ... 19th in USA, Still Last

Gabbard: Obama Misidentifies Enemy, Speech is a Diversion

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Congresswoman, what do you think the president's main message, what do you think of that message and as you know, he still is not saying what you want him to say, talking about radical Islam, Islamic extremism. He's making the case that that would be counterproductive.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI): Aloha, Wolf. Yes, I think that if you look at some of the conversations that have happened during the summit and the president's speech that we heard just a few minutes ago, still I think it is a diversion from where we need to be focused. If you look at this broad focus on countering violent extremism which is very hard to define, it's a diversion away from the actual threat coming from this radical Islamic ideology that exists not only for the United States but really around the world.

And I think one of the things that is important to note is that the administration is misidentifying the enemy and their motivation by saying that they are motivated out of materialistic aspirations, that they're motivated out of poverty, of a lack of jobs or education or opportunity and as a result, the courses of action that the administration is proposing are also materialistic in nature, saying that if we just go in and alleviate poverty, if we go in and create jobs and increase opportunity and institute this Western style of democracy, that somehow this is going to solve the problem, when really, that's not the case.

We can look to the past and see many different examples of where this has occurred, whether you look at Libya, you look at Egypt, you look at what's being proposed with Syria. In each of these different instances, a dictator has been removed, there has been an attempt to institute a Western-style democracy in each of these cases. ISIS and Islamic extremists are more powerful and presenting a greater threat than they did before. So that's why it's so important that we recognize that these people are being motivated from different parts of the world by a spiritual, a theological motivation, which is this radical Islamic ideology.

read ... Gabbard Rips Obama Again

Legislators Tinker With Rules for Making Public Adult Care Home Inspections

CB: ...The adult care home industry (which casts a whole lotta absentee ballots, baby!) supported a bill Wednesday that would increase the number and types of facilities subject to having their state inspection reports posted on the Department of Health’s website.

A House panel ended up scrapping the plan, but the industry’s willingness to support an expansion of the online posting of inspection reports represented a remarkable turnaround from two years ago when care home operators strongly opposed the idea.

Lawmakers did keep the part of the bill care home operators were most interested in — a section that would create a forum on the department’s website for the public to view available vacancies at their facilities....

In 2013, the Legislature passed a bill requiring the inspection reports for certain types of care homes to be posted online starting Jan. 1, 2015. Only the Department of Health’s Developmentally Disabled Division has started doing so, and just for developmentally disabled adult foster homes....

The Health Committee voted to pass House Bill 859 but stripped the part that would have added therapeutic living programs and independent group residences to the list of facilities that would have their inspection reports posted online.

The committee preserved the seven other types that were included in the 2013 law. Those are adult day health centers; adult day care centers; community care foster family homes; developmental disabilities domiciliary homes; developmentally disabled adult foster homes; long-term care facilities and special treatment facilities.

The committee also changed the bill to make it clear that the DOH could post vacancies on its website and that the facility operators would be permitted to post on the website too. The amendments also create a working group to discuss the posting of the vacancies....

read ... Absentee Votes

Lawmaker pushing to buy body cams for police statewide

HNN: The Kauai Police Department has already been testing body cams and plans on spending $135,000 to purchase the devices this year. But if Senate Bill 199 passes, KPD could get all that money back.

SB 199 would provide millions to equip all the states police departments with cameras, allowing each department the choice of body cameras or dash cameras for cars.

"I'm confident that it's a very good idea, the question is whether we'll have the appropriations that we can give to the counties," says State Senator Will Espero, who introduced the bill....

SB 199 is moving to the Ways and Means Committee.  If it passes there it will go to the full Senate then to the House.

read ... Body Cams

Maui Council Refuses to Approve Prosecutor, Then Refuses to Disapprove Him

MN: Councilors voted 5-2 against approving Kim's reappointment. Council Members Bob Carroll, Elle Cochran, Stacy Crivello, Don Guzman and Mike White voted against Kim's reappointment. Council Members Gladys Baisa and Michael Victorino voted in favor. Council Members Don Couch and Riki Hokama were excused.

But a motion to deny Kim's appointment also failed. Carroll voted against approving Kim as prosecuting attorney, but also voted against disapproving him. The vote to disapprove Kim failed 4-3. At least five affirmative votes are needed for council action....

In a statement released Wednesday night, White said Kim's nomination was neither approved or disapproved. The council will take action on the nomination at its March 6 meeting, the council chairman said....

During the council meeting, Guzman said new issues had been raised regarding a backlog of cases in the prosecutor's office, administration operations and reorganizations over the last four years, applications of internal policies and standard procedures, delegation of prosecutor duties, a high rate of staff turnover, questions about training conferences and seminars on the Mainland and other concerns.

Guzman said he called Kim after receiving the additional complaints, but received only a letter four days later asking him to submit his concerns in writing. Attached was a copy of Mayor Alan Arakawa's directive issued last year to county civil service employees and administration directors to halt all direct written and verbal communication with the Maui County Council and council staff.

read ... Limbo

HB985 General Fund Will Cover 60% of UH Expenses

KL: A bill currently working its way through the Hawai‘i State legislature could require no less than 60 percent of UH operating costs to be financed through general funds beginning July 1.

House Bill 985 passed the House Committee on Higher Education (HED) on Feb. 3 with 10 ayes, no nays and two ayes with reservations from Reps. Matt LoPresti and Andria Tupola. Specifically, this measure would require the appropriation of general funds for 60 percent of UH Mānoa operating costs for the fiscal year with particular consideration being given to the fiscal condition of the state, UH enrollment, access to educational opportunity, the mix of resident and non-resident students, community service, non-instruction programs and the operating costs of the university.

read ... 60%

HB596 Dope Addicts to Get Ticket

CB: Under Senate Bill 596, getting caught with an ounce or less of pakalolo would result in a fine of up to $100, a civil infraction instead of a petty misdemeanor.... 

Michelle Tippens walks by wearing a lei of prescription pill bottles after testifying in support of decriminalizing marijuana Wednesday.  But law enforcement, Catholic groups and anti-drug advocates told the committee that marijuana is a dangerous, habit-forming drug that should not be legitimized in any way.

“It seems somewhat odd that the state and county governments in Hawaii are continuously restricting the availability and use of tobacco products and at the same time would consider decriminalizing a proven mind-altering substance with its attendant ill effects on both the users and non-users of the substance,” Hawaii Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said.

read ... More Dope to Keep the People Doped Up

Trannies Want Birth Certificate Change so they Can Evade Draft, Force Way into Girls Dorm Rooms

KHON: Mika Inoue was in college when she he faced some of the scariest threats against her his life as a transgender woman.

One roommate in her his (otherwise female) dormitory at the University of Hawaii at Hilo put poisonous spiders in her his bed, and another wrote a death threat and stuck it in her his door with a knife, she he said.  (Real girls can be so vindictive.)

Now in a better place, Inoue, 25, is hoping to avoid those situations by getting a new birth certificate that confirms with her gender identification — female — without having to undergo surgery

(Clue: Guys, if you think the girls are going to be happy to sleep in the same dorm with you after you get a female birth certificate, you are mistaken.)

Not having documents that reflect the preferred gender identity from an early age can affect financial aid for students, said Camaron Miyamoto, coordinator at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Services Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. One young man female who transitioned from female to male (is now pretending to be male) was denied financial aid because he she (lied about her gender on some forms and) had not signed up for selective service (don't want all the male obligations, do you?) when he she was 18 years old, he said. 

(Translation: We want boys to start using this as a way to evade the draft.  We are using a story about a female pretending to be male so that you won't notice the draft evasion angle.  Did it work?)

But surgery isn’t possible for many students, Miyamoto said.

(Translation: Gender is an opinion.  And we can rack up lots of gender-benders if we change the rules so they don't have to sacrifice their penises.)

“Coming into the university, sometimes parental consent is not an option at all,” he said.

(Translation: They are working on trans-forming your sons next.  The Legislature is helping.)

Fascinating Comment: “this is a lie, when Eiji lived here on the Big Island he never claimed to have been a women, infact he was never infatuated with even dressing as a women... as far as his bites it was just another spider bite which he is allergic too.. his roomates was really cool from what I remember he saying when he use to live here.. so why the lies im not to sure maybe to get attention.. Things people will do for publicity.. quite sad”

SA: Tranny Murder suspect dubbed 'Michelangelo of buttocks injections'

read ... Insanity on Display at the Legislature

Mainland Group Takes Control of Planned Parenthood Hawaii

PBN: The move will cut costs for the Hawaii chapter, said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, who assumed position as interim CEO of the Hawaii organization last Friday.

Former Hawaii President and CEO Andrea Anderson (suddenly) stepped down last week for the transition, but continues to support the cause, Charbonneau said. (1. Know them by what they deny.  2. If this is the planned move they are pretending it is, why did Anderson quit last week?)

"This is exactly to cut costs for Hawaii and be sure folks here on ground can get quality services and worry less about back office functions," she said. "We centralize functions in all four states....

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest oversees 26 health centers in Alaska, Idaho, and Western Washington.

Hawaii's Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, Planned Parenthood centers will make a total of 28 after the merger.

Planned Parenthood also offers education and outreach on Kauai and the Big Island — a third Kona facility was closed last November after a lease expiration.

read ... More Abortions

Kauai Doesn't Want Dairy?  Give Them Another Hotel Instead

KE: ...the anti-dairy contingent will have a chance to beat on the Hawaii Dairy Farm folks at an open meeting tonight. To prime the pump, the Friends of Mahaulepu/Enemies of Agriculture continue their drumbeat of fear and suspicion in a guest editorial today.

The group repeatedly refers to the dairy as “industrial,” by which is meant what, exactly? That they plan to use automated milking machines? Computer chips that continually monitor the animals' health? Automated sprinklers to spread the liquid effluent?

They also gripe about HDF calling its dairy “grass-raised,” when they plan to — gasp — give the cows grain while they're being milked.

After bitching that HDF changed its plans in response to concerns raised by citizens and DOH — mmm, isn't that the purpose of a project review? — Bridget Hammerquist and Steve Lauryn write:

Kauai has a cherished history of small, sustainable businesses. It should be no different with agriculture. Sustainable, environmentally sound, akamai — these are the hallmarks to which we aspire, whether it be in energy, tourism, development or ag.

Really?  What could be less sustainable and environmentally sound than a steady influx of tourists and mainland transplants who do nothing but consume imported food, fuel and goods, and produce trash that is buried at Kekaha?

I've got an idea. Give these “Friends” exactly what they want. Ditch the dairy, forget that dirty agriculture on ag land and build a “small, sustainable business” — say, another hotel like the 600-room Grand Hyatt that's already out there — at Mahaulepu instead.

KGI: Publishes more anti-dairy drivel

read ... Musings: Private Nuisance

Boaters frustrated with poor conditions at Waianae harbor

KHON: “There’s supposed to be a pier there, supposed to be one here, supposed to be one there. They’ve all fallen in,” said commercial boat captain Downing Braley.

Boaters point out there were some recent renovations done, apparent on one side of the pier. But on the other side, smaller piers are about to go in the water.

“When you go do the job, you should do the whole job, not piecemeal. It affects everybody,” Braley said....

Underwood says money has gone to other harbors that were given priority because they were in worse shape. He says Waianae Harbor has received some of the money.

Of the 146 slips, he says 78 of them have been replaced in the past 10 years. He adds that $1.5 million will go into repairing the piers later this year.

Boaters point out that fixing the piers would also bring in more money.

“Eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, you got how many more slips, you got 20 more slips just on this pier,” Braley said....

read ... Typical

HNN: Second mile of elevated rail guideway completed in West Oahu

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