HD44 Cedric Gates’ Hidden Developer Contributions
How Can a Non-Democrat Run as a Democrat in Waianae?
Build Rail Better? Caldwell Failed Miserably
When Is an Interstate Agreement Not an Agreement?
Best Places for Veterans to Live—Honolulu Ranks 18th
County by County Early Voting Totals
- Early walk-in: 23,959
- Mail received: 103,176
- Early walk-in: 5,126
- Mail received: 19,285
- Early walk-in: 10,297
- Mail received: 26,174
- Early walk-in: 4,740
- Mail received: 8,875
read … Early
Port Fee Hikes--HIDOT Puts $800M Pinch on Consumers
SA: …support the state Department of Transportation’s proposal to increase fees tied to wharfage — payment for use of the port — as a means to putting in place improvements estimated at $850 million.
A series of public hearings on a proposal that would increase fees for unloading cargo at Hawaii ports by about 50 percent over two years will get underway at noon today at the Pier 11 terminal at Honolulu Harbor.
If the proposal is approved, expect some businesses to pass along the fee increase to wholesale customers, who would then pinch consumers with higher shelf prices for goods ranging from food and general merchandise to building materials, cars and fuel.
The DOT Harbors Division maintains there are no viable alternatives to this take-your-medicine approach as the commercial harbor system is by law self-funded and receives no federal or state funding….
(and they never heard of ‘privatization’)
the division is spending $450 million on the Kapalama Container Terminal that will expand Honolulu Harbor’s container yard space by 80 acres….
(Save $450M by leasing Kalapama out to private operators—let them build space on their own dime.)
If approved, the increases would add about $100 to the charge on a 40-foot container, from $179 today to $277 in 2018. There also would be a $15 security fee added to each container or shipped item under 60,000 pounds. That fee would cover costs tethered to post-9/11 security requirements set by federal agencies.
If the increases go into effect in early 2017, DOT expects revenue from wharfage to be $100.6 million in fiscal year 2017, followed by $117.9 million and $137.3 million in the subsequent years.
That’s a jump from fiscal year 2015, when wharfage revenues tallied $93.6 million, but (grossly inflated) operational costs were tagged at $96.9 million for the same year….
Beyond 2018, the DOT wants to see automatic annual wharfage increases of either 3 percent or the inflation rate as measured by the consumer price index, whichever is greater.
All of this follows seven straight years of increased wharfage — a near tripling in port-use payment.
Big Q: Should state harbor fees be raised — by 50 percent over two years, as proposed — to improve ports?
read … Harbors need to be expanded
Reporters dragged into court under false pretenses in Two Local Cases
CB: Two local journalists recently were called to testify in the Billy Kenoi case, doing both of them (and Hawaii journalism) professional harm.
Another local reporter, Mileka Lincoln of Hawaii News Now, also was dragged into court this fall in a legal ploy that asked her to “authenticate her transcript” of an interview she conducted with murder suspect Steven Capobianco. This was similar to the strategy that lured West Hawaii Today’s Nancy Cook Lauer into the Kenoi trial.
Once on the stand, Lincoln reportedly was badgered by the defense attorney to the point where she finally invoked reporter’s privilege under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to avoid further questioning about what she knew and how she knew it….
This trend to throttle journalistic freedoms should alarm media institutions and legislators enough to compel them to immediately reinstate the model Shield Law that Hawaii had not that long ago.
Journalists already have a tough enough job, with industry contraction, low public trust in their work and former colleagues turning into lobbyists who harangue them for being “very aggressive” with the public officials they cover.
read … False Pretenses
Former Maui corrections officer arrested in Yap for sexual assault
KHON: U.S. Marshals arrested 43 year-old James Siugpiyemal of Maui, a former Maui Community Correctional Center state corrections officer, Saturday on the island of Yap.
He was wanted by Maui police and the Maui Prosecutor’s pursuant to an arrest warrant for five counts of sexual assault against a state female inmate who was in custody at the time.
U.S. Marshals tracked Siugpiyemal to Yap, located within the Federated States of Micronesia. Siugpiyemal fled to the island of Yap after leaving Maui while on the run from authorities. Although Siugpiyemal lived and worked in Maui for several years, he remained a Micronesian citizen and was not a U.S. citizen….
read … Another One
Batteries Dying? Tesla-Solar City Merger Totals $1.6B in Losses
NYT: …the Mountain Ash Solar Farm, is not running yet, but, along with a similar, larger project under development in Hawaii, it offers a steel-and-glass example of what Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, and his cousins, Lyndon and Peter Rive, founders of SolarCity, have in mind for their merger planned for this year….
“It’s the blueprint for how we want to operate in the future,” said John Conley, vice president of project development at SolarCity.
Indeed, the project on the Hawaiian island of Kauai — where the companies are installing batteries at a solar farm to help fuel the grid during the evening — was the impetus for the proposed merger, according to Mr. Musk. As constituted, each joint deal is subject to special approval from independent board committees at both companies, making the process too burdensome.
“If we’re going to do dozens and then hundreds and maybe thousands of these deals, there’s no way we can keep having” such an unwieldy process, he said on a conference call with financial analysts this summer. Under the proposal, set for a shareholder vote on Nov. 17, Tesla would acquire SolarCity. “It’s very limited what we can do until we have actually one company.”
There are plenty of reasons for skepticism that the Musk-Rive vision will come to pass. Both companies, which lost more than $1.6 billion, or 1.45 billion euros, last year between them, face financial pressures from rising debt and a continual flurry of spending. Some energy analysts say the proposed acquisition is at least as much about helping Mr. Musk’s personal investments as furthering his green agenda, while others have questioned the wisdom of taking on a complicated transaction just as Tesla is beginning production at its huge battery factory in Nevada and preparing to bring its first moderately priced car to market….
read … Power Couple: Tie-Up Shows How Batteries and Solar May Link
Promise to Kauai: Bridge Repairs will not Improve Road Conditions
KGI: Construction will begin today on the $2.4 million replacement of three bridges along the Mohihi-Camp 10 Road in the Na Pali-Kona state forest reserve.
The bridges won’t improve road conditions, according to Kauai Department of Forestry and Wildlife, and won’t make it easier for two-wheel drive vehicles to access the area.
“The road will remain a dirt access road and will continue to be maintained as such,” Kauai DOFAW said in a statement to TGI. “This project will only be replacing the corroded and failing bridges. The capacity of the bridges will allow access for hunter and camper vehicles, as well as critical forestry emergency rescue and firefighting crews and maintenance personnel.” ….
KGI: Costs to multi-modal improvements estimated at $13.5M
read … Mohihi-Camp 10 Road will get 3 new bridges this winter
Kapahulu: Syringes and Feces Mark Homeless Camp
CB: Until a couple of months ago, the almost half-mile paved bike path behind Kapahulu Avenue was a haven for homeless people.
Some were well-behaved, community members said, but others would litter, take drugs, make cat-calls at passersby and use the nearby bushes to relieve themselves.
Some community members felt unsafe, said Colin Nishida, owner of the Side Street Inn on Kapahulu near Date Street. He estimated 10-12 people were living directly behind his restaurant, with more tents scattered along the path toward the Kanaina Avenue intersection.
They inhabited the area for about a year and also tapped into the restaurant’s electricitythrough outlets outside the building, Nishida said.
James Smith, owner of Island Triathlon and Bike at the corner of Kapahulu and Campbell avenues, said the total number of homeless people living along the bike path peaked last June at 30-40.
Kimo Carvalho, director of media relations for the Institute for Human Services, said he thinks they chose to stay in that area because of nearby resources. He estimated there were about three tents directly behind Side Street Inn, possibly with three families, and the adults were using drugs.
Trash has also long been a concern in the area. Smith’s business adopted the bike path about five years ago and used to clean it every month with four to eight volunteers.
About a year and a half to two years ago, he said, the amount of garbage on the path became too much for them to clean.
After the homeless people moved in, Smith said he and his volunteers would find needles, in addition to clothes, cans and wrappers littered on the ground. The volunteers stopped the cleanups in March or April, Smith said.
read … Kapahulu