City Officials Intentionally Jamming Up Traffic
Denied Another Extension, HART Finally Forced to Submit Financial Plan
Attorney General Outlines Plan to Test Rape Kits
Caldwell Administration seeking applicants for appointed positions
AG Releases 2015 Hawaii Crime Statistics
HART Plan to Pay Rail Debt: “I dunno”
KHON: …Here’s how it stacks up: The actual construction costs remain unchanged from this summer’s estimate of nearly $8.2 billion. HART had been saying it would hit $8.6 billion including interest payments on things like bond and other debt financing.
But now they’ve told the FTA it could be more like $9.5 billion — $1 billion more in interest.
We asked HART’s deputy executive director, Brennon Morioka, when did this model start coming into fruition?
“The last couple months,” Morioka said, “as we’ve been working on this financial plan update and looking at different financing scenarios.”
Always Investigating asked, if it had been a couple of months, why weren’t voters made aware of this, or board members, or the general public?
“Because it takes a while to actually flesh out and evaluate those numbers,” Morioka said.
HART has about $6.8 billion it can count on, but needs $8.2 billion – plus any debt financing to cover cash flow – to get to Ala Moana. HART’s new vice chairman, Terrence Lee, learned of a now $2.8 billion funding gap, including financing, about a week ago and says he demanded an explanation of how the financing-inclusive price got to $9.5 billion instead of $8.6 billion HART stood behind this summer and fall.
“What I was explained, half an hour ago,” Lee said Friday afternoon, “is that the $8.6 billion scenario assumed that we would only have financing until 2027 (to coincide with the GE tax sunset), and that at that point, some way, some form, some fashion, the debt would be paid off.”
Always Investigating asked, paid off by whom?
“Don’t know,” Lee said. (Translation: “Another Tax Hike.”) “That was the direction that was given to the staff to make that assumption.”
To recap, Lee is saying HART simply stopped counting debt costs when the G.E. tax extension ran out, assuming somehow it would all get paid off. But the new model counts on a G.E. tax extension at the same terms for another decade beyond the 2027 sunset.
Always Investigating asked Morioka for clarification, the plan doesn’t have an alternative other than “we get the extension”?
“Correct,” Morioka said….
read … HART tells feds cost of rail could hit $9.5 billion
Matayoshi: Governor Lying about my Firing
HNN: …In an exclusive interview with Hawaii News Now, schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said Gov. David Ige called her into a meeting in August and "indicated it was time for a new direction and a good time for a new superintendent."
Matayoshi's statements conflict with Ige's insistence earlier this year that he had no role in her removal.
In late October, Board of Education Chairman Lance Mizumoto announced Matayoshi would be replaced when her contract ends in June 2017.
At the time, Ige denied rumors that he engineered her departure, saying, "I had no role in it."
Matayoshi said she was left stunned following her conversation with Ige in August, in no small part because the governor is not her direct boss. The Board of Education, whose members are appointed by the governor, have the power to hire and fire Hawaii's schools superintendent.
"It was a little bit of an awkward conversation because I had really thought quite a bit about what it was I wanted to accomplish if I had more time," she said.
After the meeting with the governor, during which she told him she wanted to stay, Matayoshi sat down with the BOE's chairman….
The revelation comes as the Board of Education kicks off a search for Matayoshi's replacement, and while the state Department of Education plans to unveil a new strategic plan for Hawaii's public schools.
The plan, which involved input from thousands of teachers, parents and students, is set to be presented to the board Tuesday….
read … Governor told her it was time for 'new direction'
WOTUS: Court Uses ‘Clean Water Act’ to Give Feds Control of Ditches, Help Anti-Dairy Activists
KGI: Hawaii Dairy Farms began construction activities at the site of their proposed dairy without obtaining the necessary permits, according to a decision on Thursday by Judge Leslie Kobayashi of the federal district court of Hawaii.
But, whether those activities caused, or contributed to, the chronic pollution of the Waiopili Stream has yet to be decided.
“There was enough evidence to go to trial, but not enough to determine that Hawaii Dairy Farms is liable for anything,” said Amy Hennessey, HDF spokeswoman. “What that means is that neither side was able to successfully argue its case to her satisfaction. It was not a determination of fault in any way.”
The decision was a result of a motion for a summary judgment submitted by both parties in an ongoing Clean Water Act violation lawsuit between HDF, Ulupono Initiative, LLC, and Maha’ulepu Farm, LLC; and Friends of Mahaulepu….
The dispute is over the 575-acre dairy site, roughly two miles north of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa….
That pollution could be coming from other sources, though, Hennessey said.
“Speculation thus far has pointed to the abundance of cesspools and injection wells in the Poipu/Koloa area, as well as decaying paint and animal material that naturally occurs,” Hennessey said.
HDF began construction without securing the correct NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits, though, the court found.
HDF submitted a Notice of Intent to the state’s Department of Health on Sept. 9, 2014, indicating its plan to operate under a NPDES permit, according to the Thursday decision, however DOH did not approve the permit. HDF reapplied on May 7, 2015 and the application is still pending, according to the decision.
“Defendants engaged in activities pre and post-complaint that required an NPDES permit,” the decision states.
Because HDF’s activities were undertaken as a common plan of development, they needed an NPDES permit for their activities, the decision states.
“The court system has acknowledged that Hawaii Dairy Farms and the landowner, Grove Farm, have been in violation of the Clean Water Act,” said Carl Berg, head of the Blue Water Task Force.
The court further found that the construction activities that occurred on the proposed HDF dairy site don’t qualify for an exemption under agricultural exclusion.
read … Save the Grand Hyatt!
“I have a sleep disorder”—Anti-Telescope Protesters Latest Delaying Tactics
EH: On October 31, however, she announced that beginning with the next day’s hearing she would limit cross examination to 30 minutes for each party. The decision came after the protracted questioning of Günther Hasinger, director of the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy, during the previous hearing, on October 27. One party alone — Brannon Kamahana Kealoha — questioned Hasinger for 115 minutes. Altogether, Hasinger was on the witness stand nearly 10 hours
…Most of the parties stated their objection to the limit, but Amano was frm, citing as her authority Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 13-1-32, governing the conduct of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ contested case hearings.
Among those complaining the longest was Kealoha, who, after arriving late, proceeded to argue with Amano for 15 minutes. “My due process has been sabotaged,” he stated. “When that German national” — Hasinger —“was accommodated to my tab, that’s why I’m late, and then you schedule this motion. I’m shaking because, it’s personal. When are you going to accommodate the pro se? I want to let you know that that 12-hour hearing — I have a medical condition. It’s a sleep disorder…. You ultimatum me and then, since you already told me you’re just going to list it and you’re not going to accommodate my pro se stance.”….
WHT: TMT opponents question former judge
read … Delay
$10.9M Medicated Marijuana Store Coming to Young Street
SA: … One of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees announced this week that it raised $10.9 million in equity financing and has completed construction of its offices and design of its Honolulu dispensary on Young Street.
Manoa Botanicals LLC, one of three licensed dispensary operators on Oahu, also is building a cannabis production facility in Kunia….
At least one dispensary operator, Maui Wellness Group, said it is ready to open.
The firm has hired about a dozen employees and has leased agricultural land and a retail facility. It hopes to get the green light to become the first operational dispensary this year with sales in early 2017….
Best Comment: “I love the way the state’s made as many hoops as high (LOL) as can for the rich lawyers and judges and real estate guys to get into this.” ….
read … Marijuana licensees prepare to open
Indoctrinating the Young in Hate Factories
CFP: University of Hawaii professor, Huanani-Kay Trask has taught students “We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it.”
read … Indoctrinating the Young in Hate Factories
Sierra Club Boss Wants Hike in Minimum Wage
SA: Few have done more to jack up Hawaii’s high cost of housing than the Sierra Club. Now they want to act like friends of the workingman….
read … Sierra Club Boss Wants Hike in Minimum Wage
Hawaii Gains From Abolition of Obamacare
SA: Medicaid: There is an ill-advised (excellent) plan for Medicaid block grants to states. Under this scheme the federal government will give the states a fixed sum, thereby (allowing Hawaii to design its own program to suit local needs. Of course this would require competence….)
Medicare: The new administration is in favor of privatizing Medicare by means of a voucher program. Those who qualify will be given vouchers to defray the premiums that they will then pay to private insurers (thus freeing them from mindless bureaucracy and creating more competition in the marketplace….)
Best Comment: “Obama promised keeping your doctor, keeping your health plan, annual savings of $2500…. In reality, you may have lost your doctor, you may have lost your heath plan, and you’re now paying more and faced with higher deductibles.”
read … Trump is Obama's Legacy
BioMess: Energy developer sues Hawaiian Electric, NextEra Energy for $555M
PBN: The developer of a $225 million biomass plant on the Big Island of Hawaii that is about 50 percent complete filed a civil complaint this week against Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., NextEra Energy Inc. and Hamakua Energy Partners LP for alleged anticompetitive and illegal conduct related to the termination of the developer’s power purchase agreement.
The agreement on the 21.5-megawatt project had been approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in late 2013, but Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary Hawaii Electric Light Co. terminated the agreement after the utility claimed that the developer missed several deadlines that were part of the agreement between the two companies….
Hu Honua said it lost its investment of $120 million in the plant, plus lost profits of $435 million….
IM: Lawsuit Filed Against NextEra, HECO & HEI
HTH: Monopoly motive? Hu Honua files antitrust suit against HELCO
read … Energy developer sues Hawaiian Electric, NextEra Energy for $555M
200 To Receive Rental Assistance
CB: The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is in the process of handing out housing vouchers to 200 families statewide under the federal rental assistance program known as Section 8….
read … Section 8
Developers Like Flippers
PBN: …The rules would lower the maximum income for buyers from 140 percent to 120 percent of Honolulu’s median income, increasing the supply of affordable housing but also disqualifying individuals from buying into workforce housing projects such as the 801 South St. project in Kakaako.
“801 South was a project that worked to help individuals get on the housing ladder, but that is at risk now,” Christine Camp, president and CEO of Avalon Development Co., said. “Some families who bought units were able to sell and move up, and people didn’t like seeing that. But moving up in the ladder is necessary, and they shouldn’t be dampening the idea of owning a house.”
The first 801 South St. tower opened in June 2015 as a privately-financed condominium project for Honolulu’s workforce, and all 635 units, priced between $253,200 to $501,300, sold out in a couple of weeks. The project’s second tower is set to open in January.
By lowering the affordable housing bracket in Kakaako, Camp says some individuals would not be able to move out, hindering them from moving up the housing ladder….
read … Trap
Fee for fishing? Study group looks at possibility of non-commercial license
WHT: …Non-commercial fishing has cultural, environmental and economic implications in the state, and attempts to regulate it and/or create a fee structure for the privilege are controversial in nature.
Jim Rizzuto, a 77-year-old lifelong fisherman, said the idea of charging for non-commercial fishing licenses in Hawaii has been around for years.
“I think they’ve been looking at it most my life,” said Rizzuto, who has written a weekly fishing column for West Hawaii Today for decades.
He said it could be seen as problematic by many fisherman around the state.
Often, people are resistant to a change to something they’re used to getting for free. Aside from that, the cost for an agency to run the licensing program would likely eat up much of the revenue it was supposed to generate, he said, and it could prove a nuisance to fishermen having to fill out the details and specifics of what they’re catching and where.
Restrictions to non-commercial fishing could be especially irksome to fishermen in Hawaii, where casting line is a lifestyle.
“It’s like having a license for walking, like having a license for swimming,” he said. “I don’t see it as useful in any way.”
read … Fee for Fishing