End the Bleeding of Aloha By Hobby Activism
“The Indoctrination of our children” with Dr. Joe McIlhaney
Tuna Monument: Rep Aumua Amata to Oversee Investigations of 'Insular Areas'
Hawaii Republican Convention Set for May 2
UPDATE: 84 Republicans Running for Honolulu Neighborhood Board
KIUC: Solar Contractors Selling Systems Which Cost More than Electric Bill
Safety? How Did Your Hospital Do?
Turtle Bay Deal Announced
While Pushing Rail, State Fails to Use $820M in Federal Highway Funds
KHON: A Hawaii News Now investigation revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in federally funded highways projects have been stuck in the state bureaucracy for years, delaying badly needed improvements and the creation of construction jobs.
A federal review found it takes three to four times as long for the average federal highway project to get started in Hawaii, compared to other states.
A contract administration review by the Federal Highway Administration completed in January reported Hawaii had $820 million worth of unused federal highway aid sitting on the books waiting to be spent in 2013, about five times the roughly $160 million in highway funds the state gets from the federal government each year. That's an improvement from 2011, when the federal highways project backlog totaled $940 million.
The money is "waiting to be spent on vital transportation projects that could stoke the state's economy and bring transportation benefits to the public," the FHA report said.
read ... Keep Hawaii Jammed so they will want rail
Now That Rail Tax Debate is Done, DoT Begins Opening New Lanes on H-1 Westbound
HNN: A new right lane will be opened near the Waipahu Off-Ramp (Exit 8B). HDOT will open up additional segments of the newly widened H-1 Pearl City Viaduct as they are completed. Drivers can anticipate a new 400 foot section to be opened every two weeks, weather permitting, until the new right lane eventually meets with the Waimalu Off-Ramp.
read ... H-1 lane modifications begin Sunday on Pearl City viaduct
Unconstitutional? State skims millions off city’s rail tax
KHON: More than $160 million so far have gone to the state, and there could be a major legal problem with the way it’s structured and spent.
Some say it could be unconstitutional.
“They are taking more in general excise tax from the people in Honolulu than they are from any other taxpayer in any other neighbor island. Isn’t there something wrong with this?” said Tom Yamachika of Tax Foundation of Hawaii.
Big Q: 73%--No Rail Tax Extension
read ... Skims
OHA Trustees Re$cind Support for Telescope
SA: During the board discussion, the trustees informally counted four votes in favor of rescinding only — Peter Apo, Colette Machado, Haunani Apoliona and Rowena Akana — and three votes in favor of opposition — Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey, Dan Ahuna and Lei Ahu Isa. Chairman Robert K. Lindsey Jr. and John Waihee IV were absent.
But four votes are not a majority of the nine-member board, and they wouldn't have been enough to overturn the trustee's 2009 vote in support of the project. That prompted some vote-switching, with trustees ultimately casting six votes to rescind, no votes against and one — Ahuna — abstaining.
Before the vote, Lindsey read a statement from Abigail Kawananakoa, who blasted UH for its "abysmal" effort in taking care of the mountain over the years, and Ahuna launched into an impassioned speech, urging the trustees to stand with the people and oppose the TMT.
"Self-determination is right at our fingertips," Ahuna said. "We have the opportunity to send a strong message that it is no longer business as usual for Native Hawaiians."
Other board members pushed for the neutral position, saying it would give OHA a better position in negotiating for changes to a range of concerns, including the decommissioning of telescopes and the review of the Mauna Kea Master Plan and Mauna Kea master lease, which expires in 2033.
"It's about more than the telescope. It's about the management of the entire mountain," Apo said. He added that "If we oppose, we are going to take ourselves out of the field of play."
Machado said political realities demand that OHA remain neutral. She said the vote puts Gov. David Ige, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources and the UH Board of Regents on notice that OHA will press for important changes.
"If we oppose, they are going to look at us and say, ‘OK, we'll push you aside for laters,'" she said....
read ... More Rent Money
Anti-Telescope Activists Threaten HS Girl AGAIN
SA: Kuuipo Freitas, a master's degree student in Hawaiian language and literature at the University of Hawaii's Hilo campus, said she was one of the 31 protesters arrested for what she called protecting sacred land from desecration....
The rent and money a telescope foundation has pledged for education is "soft money," she said. "OHA needs to stop bowing down to the dollar and starting bowing down to the mauna." (Or 'hard money' paid directly to OHA.)
Sovereignty activist (and convicted felon) Bumpy Kanahele (who was paid off to support the fake Indian tribe) had urged trustees to take a stand. "We got to stop the TMT, period. Our national $overeignty is on the line." (Hard cop soft cop.)
Through tears, aspiring astronomer Mailani Neal told trustees that as a Native Hawaiian, the telescope will allow her to work in Hawaii one day. The Hawaii Preparatory Academy high school senior skipped school to travel from her home in Kailua-Kona with her parents to testify at the meeting.
While she spoke, some in the audience made negative comments that caught the ire of trustee Colette Machado. "Hilahila to the people in the back," she said, using the Hawaiian term for shame. If people couldn't be respectful, "get out," she scolded.
Still Haven't Learned: Anti-Telescope Leader Calls for killing telescope supporters -- HS Girl Targeted
read ... Losers with no respect for the able
Who Will Want to Partner with Hilo Hospital?
Borreca: Members of the state House are projecting an $800 million deficit over the next decade for Maui's hospitals.
On the Big Island, Hilo is predicting a $30 million deficit just for this year.
"Catastrophic cuts to services are on the horizon if legislators don't provide more funding this year," Dan Brickman, director of East Hawaii's public health care system, which runs Hilo hospital, said in a new report last year....
If Maui has a health care cost dilemma, it remains the low-hanging health care crisis.
The Hawaii island hospital crisis is going to be much more difficult to solve.
In an interview this week, Brickman said Maui, with its relatively well-off population, is a much more desirable property.
"When it comes to the Big Island, we are 75 percent Medicaid or Medicare patients. We have a small tourist base and there are many more economically disadvantaged, so our potential solution is very different," Brickman said.
The problems may be different and the solutions more elusive, but doing nothing, Brickman said, still leaves Hawaii island with erosion in finances, which erodes the services and eventually erodes the health of the community.
"At the end of the day, you are going to hurt people," Brickman said.
For the Legislature and Ige, this week's action for Maui is a good step — but Hawaii's health care crisis was not solved.
read ... Maui hospital deal is good but next one will be harder
HGEA Members Approve Contract
SA: Two units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association that include about 14,400 public workers have ratified a new two-year contract with the state and counties.
Last week the union halted contract ratification voting for bargaining Units 3 and 4 after HGEA learned negotiators for the Hawaii State Teachers Association won larger across-the-board raises and a larger bonus than HGEA had negotiated for those units. (Making Perriera look like a fool.)
However, the union resumed bargaining over the weekend, and this week resumed ratification meetings with a neutral recommendation on the latest proposed contract, which union leaders described as "slightly better" than the original proposal.
The new proposed contract that was circulated Monday would award union members either a step movement into a higher pay grade or a $1,500 lump-sum payment on July 1, and another lump-sum payment of $1,200 for all employees the following year.
The proposal would also increase the share of health insurance premiums paid by the state and counties each year of the contract; continue step movements to higher pay grades in the second year of the contract; and provide for a 1.6 percent across-the-board pay increase in 2017.
On Thursday, HGEA announced 73 percent of the Unit 3 members and 72.5 percent of Unit 4 members voted to accept the latest proposal.
(Meanwhile, Perriera failed to stop legislation which will strip 100s of HHSC workers out of the HGEA's grasp. What a loser.)
read ... Bumbling Union Leadership
Senators: Galuteria is a Tax Cheat, but he's good enough for us
CB: A group of senators charged with investigating Sen. Brickwood Galuteria plans to recommend that he be allowed to keep his seat despite a complaint alleging he doesn’t actually live in his district of Kakaako and committed tax fraud.
Galuteria maintains that he lives in an apartment in Kakaako with his wife and mother. But he acknowledged earlier this session that he wrongly claimed a $80,000 homeowners tax exemption on rental property in Palolo Valley for several years. The City and County of Honolulu calculated he owes more than $7,200 in taxes and fees.
A day later, Hawaii Kai resident Richard Baker submitted a complaint to Senate President Donna Mercado Kim alleging that Galuteria isn’t qualified to serve because he doesn’t meet the residency requirements and lied on his taxes.
But a special Senate committee made up of Sens. Gil Kahele, Sam Slom, Jill Tokuda, Ronald Kouchi and led by Gil Keith-Agaran decided Thursday that the evidence isn’t strong enough for Galuteria to lose his seat....
Reality: Kakaako: How to Buy Hawaii State Senators--Legally
read ... Fits Right In
UH Does it Again
SA: No one can be blamed for thinking, "Oh no, not again!"
Lately, it seems the University of Hawaii keeps getting itself mired in contracts for its high-priced hires, shelling out more money than it's worth to make folks go away.
Now, contract confusion is already brewing around a hire that UH actually wants — and recently announced — but has yet to ink terms with. New UH basketball coach Eran Ganot is about three weeks into his job, but still doesn't have a signed contract. Oddly enough, that's how things started with his predecessor, whose ill-fated stint is still being contractually argued.
DN: “Oh, no, not again” as UH does it yet again—‘cause that’s what they do
read ... They never learn at UH
Kim Swears She Wasn't Seeking HTA Post
SA: State Senate President Donna Kim took the Hawaii Tourism Authority to task Thursday over its annual legislative efforts, which she said have hurt the agency.
Also Thursday, the HTA board said it has selected a new president and CEO, but added that the name cannot be announced because the salary and benefits are still being negotiated.
"The person has not accepted the position, but we expect that they will," said HTA Board Chairman Aaron Sala at the agency's monthly board meeting. The candidate was selected April 17, Sala said.
The HTA, which markets Hawaii as a tourist destination, has an $82 million annual budget generated from hotel room tax revenues. Mike McCartney, the previous president, left the $270,000-a-year job in November to become Gov. David Ige's chief of staff.
Kim said her concern for the HTA is limited to her role as Senate president, and that she was not a candidate for the HTA job.
"I'm not interested," Kim said. "In fact, I think they are very close to naming a new person."
Meanwhile, Kim scolded the board for interfering with the implementation of House Bill 1259. The bill, which Kim introduced in a Senate version, retains the HTA's dedicated public funding and allows it to spend up to 5 percent of the tourism special fund on administrative costs. Kim said it stalled after the HTA introduced an amendment seeking a 30 percent increase in its administrative budget.
"The bill sunsets in June, and it's now dead because the amendment put it in jeopardy," said Kim. "In addition to the losses of your exemptions, your administration funds are now reduced to 3.5 percent, which is a serious concern because you need to function." ...
Kim also warned the board about House Bill 716, which seeks a portion of HTA funds for an innovative business interaction program under the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
"You don't want to start the process of HTA giving money to other entities, because it's not going to stop," Kim said.
Kim said the Hawaii Tax Foundation opposed HB 716 because it could cut the HTA's tourism marketing budget. However, she said the HTA was noticeably absent during testimony. Kim said the HTA also failed to testify against House Bill 169, which would increase the transient accommodations tax on resort timeshares.
read ... Now Its Dead
Who Is Tesla’s Home Battery For? -- Apparently only Hawaii
NYT: Late Thursday, Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, said the company will starting selling the batteries that are used in its luxury cars for use in homes and businesses. The home versions of the batteries, called Powerwall, will cost $3,000 for a 7 kilowatt-hour model and $3,500 for a 10 kilowatt-hour model. The company will sell larger batteries to businesses and utilities, which could use them to store power from solar panels, windmills and other sources during off-peak hours to use during peak hours. (Tesla says its prices do not include the cost of an inverter and installation.)
Most homeowners will not want to buy the new batteries — at least not in the near future. But the Powerwall will make a lot of sense for people in places like Hawaii, where the cost of electricity from the grid is expensive — the average cost to homeowners was more than twice the national average in February, according to the Energy Information Administration. So, it’s no surprise that 12 percent of Hawaiian homes already have solar panels, according to a recent story by Diane Cardwell. Moreover, many residents in the Aloha State are very unhappy with Hawaiian Electric Company, which has tried to slow down the growth of home solar systems. The company says the proliferation of panels has made it harder for it to manage the grid.
Tesla’s battery could allow more Hawaiians to disconnect from the grid completely or reduce their reliance on it. The same is true to a lesser extent for homeowners in California, Arizona and other sun-belt states. At the same time, Tesla’s larger batteries should help utilities by allowing them to balance the erratic supply of electricity from solar panels and windmills with demand for power....
NR: SolarCity Incorporating Tesla Batteries Into A Range Of Energy Storage Systems
read ... The New York Times
Ethanol mandate nears end of road
SA: Lawmakers imposed the ethanol mandate in 2006 as part of an ambitious plan to launch a major new local biofuels industry. Since then almost all gasoline sold in Hawaii must be composed of 10 percent ethanol, an alcohol-based fuel that can be made from sugar or corn.
The state also offered generous tax credits to encourage development of an ethanol production facility in Hawaii that was supposed to be supplied with local feedstock.
The hope was that Hawaii ethanol production would attract more than $100 million in investment in ethanol production plants and would generate 700 jobs. But those projects never materialized, and by 2009 the state was importing 45 million gallons of ethanol a year.
"It never took off, it never penciled out, and nothing has happened," said House Consumer Protection Chairman Angus McKelvey (D, Lahaina-Kaanapali-Honokohau).
Meanwhile, lawmakers said they have been hearing from unhappy motorists who complain that the ethanol-mix fuel gets poorer mileage than unmixed gasoline, which in part prompted legislators to approve Senate Bill 717.
read ... B Bye
More Pressure on Homeless to Accept Shelter
SA: A plan to expand Oahu's sit-lie ordinance is advancing quickly through the Honolulu City Council despite warnings that it may be illegal.
Bill 6 adds portions of McCully, Aala, Punchbowl and Kapalama Canal to the list of areas where the sit-lie ban is applied. It also shores up Bill 48 (2014), the business district sit-lie law that passed last year, by applying the prohibition on both sides of the streets in the 15 commercial-business communities now designated as sit-lie areas.
After advancing Thursday out of the Council Zoning and Planning Committee, the bill now goes to the full Council for a final vote scheduled for Wednesday.
read ... Forcing them to accept shelter
61.6 Acres Left out of Turtle Bay Deal
CB: Although Thursday’s announcement is a significant step toward resolving the conflict over development at Turtle Bay, there are many loose ends.
One big unanswered question is the fate of the 29 acres left out of Ige’s deal.
Scott McCormack, vice president at Turtle Bay Resort, said that the company is willing to work with environmentalists to find a way to preserve that land in the future.
Attorney General Doug Chin also said the state intends to work out a way to conserve the parcel.
That may or may not involve more state money. Cole and Hong both said they will be exploring how federal funds could possibly be leveraged to protect the excluded acres.
Cole and Hong also want to try to save 32.6 acres of beachfront property near Kahuku Point that were not included in either conservation easement plan because of the high land value.
read ... Ah ha!
Obama library will be built in Chicago
NYT: President Barack Obama’s presidential library will be built in his adopted home of Chicago, according to various news reports.
The University of Chicago, where Obama taught law, will construct the library along with his foundation, which is run by longtime friends and supporters.
Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s chief of staff, are expected to make the announcement in the next few weeks.
read ... No Surprise
Tranny Birth Certificates and Sex Trafficking Pass Conference Committee
AP: instead of having a sex change operation people could get a note from a medical provider saying the person's birth certificate doesn't reflect their gender identification. Having identification that reflects one's outward appearance is critical when applying for jobs and signing up for services, and entering the ladies room....
— SEX TRAFFICKING: Hawaii is one step closer to shedding the distinction of being the only state without a sex trafficking ban. A panel cleared a bill that would create a victim-centered approach to prosecuting those that coerce people into prostitution.
— SUPER PACS: Voters could get more information on who's dumping money into campaign ads. A bill aimed at super PACs would require non-candidate committees to file and additional campaign spending report earlier in the election cycle.
— CLEFT PALATES: In a lighter moment, a panel cleared a bill that would mandate insurance coverage of orthodontic treatment of facial abnormalities.
CB: The measure would replace the charge of "promoting prostitution" with the term "sex trafficking."
read ... Remember: Gender is an Opinion--Sexual Organization is an immutable condition of birth. Remember.
Last day for medical marijuana dispensaries bill
WHT: The Senate and House showed wide differences on the bill in conference this week, with Senate committee leader Josh Green presenting a “start small” version that would allow one license in each county and a total of 10 facilities statewide where farming and distribution centers are combined, and the House conference leader Della Au Belatti finding his plan too restrictive and favoring big business.
Green has said his proposal, which would require dispensary owners to be licensed health care professionals with access to $2 million, is in line with requests from public safety officials and makes the initial effort manageable. Green worried that the state departments of health and public safety won’t have the resources to properly oversee and regulate the launch of a large number of dispensaries, which in turn would lead to delays and possible derailment of the initiative.
Chief among its differences, the House favors separate licenses for growers and more licenses to prevent monopolies on the supply.
Lawmakers were in negotiations Thursday and Green said he hopes to pass legislation that will guarantee two dispensaries on the Big Island.
read ... Retailers, Wholesalers
Persons with an exaggerated sense of self
KE: ...Meanwhile, Fern Rosenstiel of Ohana o Kauai took to Civil Beat to tell how she, Gary and Malia Chun had “shared their [fabricated] story” about pesticides with the Swiss:
They are appalled to know that we are only asking for disclosure, so we can know when to shut our windows.
Surely Fern knows that all the companies disclose their pesticide use on the Good Neighbor website. And though it isn't required, they also provide pre-notification of pesticide applications to schools, KVMH and any residents in the area who have signed up for the notification. The only exception to the pre-notification is Pioneer, which isn't allowed to contact residents because some of them are involved in the dust lawsuit against the company.
So ya gotta wonder, is Fern hopelessly out of touch with reality, or simply telling tales?
Her piece prompted a number of comments, including one from Kilauea resident Cyndee Fehring, directed toward a UH researcher:
You sit in the ivory tower of U of H, which is in a cozy relationship with these corporations, while we grow food here ORGANICALLY and in abundance. I'll put up my experience as an organic farmer seeking organic solutions to problems against Syngenta's researchers and your university degrees, any day of the week.
Really? If you're such a successful farmer, then why must you supplement your income with an illegal TVR on ag land? If Kauai folks are growing organic food in abundance, why is nearly everything edible still imported? And do you truly believe that you, as a new hobby farmer, know as much about agriculture as Ph.D. researchers?
Yet another person with an exaggerated sense of self telling tall tales in la-la land....
read ... Musings: La-La Land
Bike Lane Unnecessary, and Confusing: Bicycle Accidents Begin
HNN: Shimamoto is the owner of Travel Ways. She says since the cycle track was installed in December there's been a lot of confusion.
"We just had a client and he didn't know you had to pay because the meter was so far away," said Shimamoto.
But her customers ability to find a place to park isn't her only concern. She's also worried about safety.
"The car was coming out, and I guess he didn't see the bicyclist so he hit the bicyclist," said Shimamoto....
"There is a fully developed bike path exactly one block from here.Only what was necessary and needed was very minor improvements to the Young Street Bike Thoroughfare," said Michael Horton.
read ... City to add lights and remove parking near King Street cycle track