Meet Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary
Danner: Nobody Gave Money for Fake Indian Tribe Vote, Now We’re Getting Desperate
SA: A campaign to bring about a ratification vote for the draft Native Hawaiian constitution has received a boost with a pledge of support from an association of more than 100 Native Hawaiian organizations. (Newsflash: Robin Danner wants the Indian Tribe, LOL!)
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and its Policy Center leadership are planning to launch a campaign to educate the community about the constitution and join efforts to raise private capital dedicated to holding a ratification vote. (Still ‘planning’ 10 months later.)
Former Gov. John Waihee described the announcement as good news. He said $265,000 has already been raised by the group that convened following the Na‘i Aupuni Aha, or constitutional convention, in February. (That’s the same amount they have been citing for the last 10 months.)
Michelle Kauhane, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement president and CEO, said her organization decided to step up its support of the ratification vote campaign, in part to counter what she called a widespread misconception (Translation: Accurate belief.) that Trump will upend the law.
Kauhane said some folks are under the impression that the rule was created through executive order and is therefore easily rescinded by the president.
But that’s not true, she said, because the Part 50 rule was instituted through the notice-and-comment rule-making process, making it a fully codified regulation that would take as much effort to reverse as it took to create, including public hearings. (And they think the new DOI Sec’y won’t do this?) …
Ilya Shapiro, a member of the Grassroot Institute Board of Scholars, urged the Trump administration to act immediately to rescind the rule.
Writing last week in the National Review, Shapiro, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., also urged Congress to reject it through the use of the Congressional Review Act, a law enacted in 1996 that allows the reversal of a rule issued in a previous session of Congress….
Former Gov. Waihee said the money raised so far has come from 141 individuals and organizations and is being held by the Tides Foundation’s Aloha Lahui Collective Action Fund. (Don’t be fooled. Waihee will give it to his cronies. He always does.)
Reality: Documents Reveal Waihee Hustles Indians for $2M
Shapiro: Midnight Regulations in Paradise
read … Ratification of Hawaiian constitution gains kokua
Honolulu Council Chair: Ron Menor in -- Ernie Martin out
SA: Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin is expected to lose his leadership gavel to Councilman Ron Menor in the new year under a reorganization plan expected to garner the support of a majority of the nine-member panel.
Menor unveiled the new leadership in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday night in response to questions about a possible reorganization. Under the proposal, Council Vice Chairman Ikaika Anderson would retain his seat while Councilwoman Kymberly Pine would be majority floor leader, replacing Menor.
Martin has been chairman since June 2011. The heads of the two most powerful Council committees — Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi and Zoning Chairman Trevor Ozawa — are also expected to lose their posts under the reorganization, although it’s not clear who would lead which committees....
Big Q: What do you think about the leadership shakeup at the City Council?
HNN: Honolulu City Council to get new chairman as part of reorganization plan
read … Deck Chairs Titanic
Civil Beat: Don’t Like Homelessness? Then Give More Money to those Who Keep the Homeless on Your Streets
CB: When it comes to facing the unsavory realities of Honolulu’s homelessness epidemic, that area’s storefronts are on the front lines. Business owners have seen it all — loitering, mental illness and even defecation — on the sidewalks in front of their stores….
River of Life serves about 15,000 meals a month, and some Chinatown business owners think the humanitarian service attracts more homeless people to the neighborhood. (And they’re right, but we’re going to try to twist this knowledge into its opposite with this editorial.) They also complain the lines of people waiting for meals deter potential customers. Many would like to see the mission’s effort moved (to Pierre Omidyar’s home) elsewhere….
(Better idea. Just shut it down. Make the homeless accept shelter by applying more pressure.)
…“This isn’t ‘Field of Dreams,’” he said. “We didn’t build it and they came. They were here already.” (KNOW THEM BY WHAT THEY DENY!)
This is the fundamental reality (illusion) that Chinatown — and frankly, all of Honolulu — needs to finally accept…. (so the homelessness industry can really prosper in Hawaii….)
Reality: Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii
read … Bow Before The Homelessness Industry
Star-Adv: How Can we Give More Film Tax Credits to Our Hollywood Buddies After Auditors Report?
SA: Few imagined that the tax credit helping to underwrite film projects was approved only as a short-term jumpstart for the industry. Tax credits have a tendency to stick around, sometimes for longer than they should.
In this case, though, Hawaii almost certainly will need to maintain its incentive for companies seeking the island setting for their productions.
But the state also needs to know how the tax credit, which will be up for renewal in another year, benefits the state at large and this industry specifically — far more precisely than is known now.
That is the point of the report, “Audit of Hawai‘i’s Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit,” in which the state auditor makes it plain that the available evidence doesn’t support the richness of the state’s investment….
(This is a sales pitch for more tax credits.)
read … Working out the sales pitch
Kauai Dairy: Ag Takes Another Hit
KE: As the Hawaii Dairy Farms project wends its way through a voluntary EIS and now a pending trial, one message is coming through loud and clear: if you want to do ag on Kauai, you'd best have thick skin, endless patience and deep pockets.
Doesn't matter if the project is producing the local food that the antis are clamoring for. Doesn't matter if it's happening on Important Ag Land — acreage specifically dedicated to farming. Doesn't matter if the land has been used for agriculture — in this case, sugar and cattle pasture — for more than a century.
If the antis don't want it for whatever reason — in this case, because they think it may diminish their property values — they'll fight you tooth and nail, while claiming they're trying to protect “sacred, pristine” land.
Friends of Mahaulepu (FMO) is currently suing HDF, claiming the company widened ditches while preparing its pastures, and thus caused the extremely high levels of bacteria found in a ditch there. HDF claims it didn't widen ditches or cause any pollution, a stance supported by the state Department of Health's sanitary survey, which confirmed the dairy site is not the source of the high bacterial counts in Waiopili ditch.
In the most recent action, this past Thursday, federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi denied both parties' requests for summary judgment, which means the dispute will go to trial. It's set for Feb. 14 on Oahu….
read … Musings: Ag Takes Another Hit
WOTUS Makes Normal Agricultural Activities Illegal
KGI: …It is about using a backhoe to dig trenches for laying potable water lines to 40 of 160 already installed watering troughs, digging wells without a national pollution discharge permit in place. (Yep. Farmers have to ask permission from the FEDRAL government to dig on their own property thanks to WOTUS)
It is about pulling back the dirt from the ditches (normal agricultural method) that run to waters of the U.S. so HDF could install metal grates across the ditches for the very large muddy wheels of their illegally installed irrigation boom to cross over the ditches that all drain into the Waiopili Stream which cascades across the white sandy beach of Mahaulepu before entering the ocean.
To pollute the waters of the U.S., all HDF has to do is allow dirt to get in the ditches (muddy water is illegal now) and cause what is called “turbidity.” Turbidity will suffocate the fish and kill our living reef at the mouth of the Waiopili Stream and hurt our endangered water birds. (Translation: Its not what us tourists paid for.)
The court reviewed the testimony of HDF’s farm manager admitting to spraying the entire farm with Roundup multiple times (normal agricultural method) and tilling in the resulting debris leaving all 557 acres of exposed raw dirt (normal agricultural method) so that with any rainstorm would move the contaminants and dirt into the ditches.
There were 32 days of rain reported by the DEIS during their 45-day site inspection for the draft EIS. Even The Garden Island ran pictures in past articles that show the raw dirt fields going right up to the edge of a ditch that had been cleared of all vegetation (normal agricultural method). These pictures are still available on TGI’s website….
read … Anti-Dairy Leader Crowing
LOL: Hanabusa is Pelosi’s Response to Massive Democrat Defeat
WT: Among the changes Pelosi endorsed was making the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairmanship an elected position, rather than one appointed by the Democratic leader and ratified by the caucus. A freshman lawmaker, in this case Hawaii's Colleen Hanabusa, will represent incoming lawmakers and three new co-chairmen who have served fewer than five terms in Congress will be added to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee roster on Monday.
…not enough, many Democrats say….
read … Hanabusa
Latest HPD shooting again raises familiar questions
ILind: …two similar incidents that resulted in fatal shootings drew questions just a couple of years ago. In each of those cases, like in the latest one, police attempted to stop suspects who were driving, and when they tried to drive off, police fired.
Here’s what I wrote at that time (“Could Honolulu police have avoided recent shootings?“). “Clearly, it’s a dangerous kind of encounter. The data suggest that perhaps there are other ways to handle these situations that reduce the number of times they turn lethal. Do other major police departments have different approaches to these confrontations? Are there “best practices” that have yet to be adopted here? Could the shootings have been avoided?”
Available data suggest that Honolulu has a higher incidence of police shootings, and a large fraction of those incidents involve the same circumstances in which police try to block a car driven by a suspect, who then is shot while attempted to break through the surrounding police.
Similar questions have been asked about police policy elsewhere. That post, for example, linked to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Analysis: Many Las Vegas police shootings could have been avoided“).
Those questions continue to go unanswered by HPD. Perhaps the new members of the Police Commission should raise them anew.
read … Shooting
Espero Booted from Committee Overseeing Police
SA: Sen. Will Espero will take over as chairman of the Housing Committee, which had been led by Sen. Brickwood Galuteria. The committee is expected to take up high-priority proposals relating to the state’s homeless problem and lack of affordable housing.
Espero has previously served as vice chairman of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee, which includes oversight of law enforcement. He became an outspoken advocate for police reform measures, arguing for greater public transparency about police officers who have been disciplined or forced to resign, and urging the county police departments to do a better job in testing sexual assault kits….
Sen. Clarence Nishihara will remain chairman of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee. Sen. Glenn Wakai will take Espero’s place as vice chairman….
Galuteria will be vice chairman of Hawaiian Affairs….
read … Anti-Reform
Housing Shortage? New UH Hilo Dorms sit Half-Empty for Years
HTH: …Hale ‘Alahonua, a 300-bed, suite-style dormitory opened in fall 2013 to help mitigate a housing shortage. It was the first dorm built at UH-Hilo since 1989.
Part of the $28 million project was funded with a 30-year, $17 million revenue bond, to be paid back through money generated from housing fees.
But the dorm has since struggled to fill all its beds. Occupancy was 57 percent that first year and dipped as low as 39 percent in 2015. It’s currently 49 percent full. All other dormitories at UH-Hilo range between 83 percent and 99 percent full, according to information provided to the Tribune-Herald.
As a result of that lower-than-anticipated occupancy, UH-Hilo has had to subsidize its $1.1 million annual revenue bond payments for three years with “additional housing funds from (its) reserves,” campus spokesman Jerry Chang said in an email….
administrators are weighing multiple options — for example, lowering the cost to live in Hale ‘Alahonua.
Residents pay $3,859 per semester for a two-bedroom single unit — more costly than any other residence hall on campus. Students in Hale Ikena — an apartment-style residence hall and the next-most expensive housing option — pay up to $3,216 per semester.
read … Hawaii Affordable Housing Plan—Only Build Where not Needed
City Council passes bill on ride-hailing firms and taxis
SA: A new bill aimed at treating Uber and Lyft drivers more like traditional cabbies was approved 9-0 by the Honolulu City Council on Thursday.
And while the drivers on both sides appear to support Bill 55, at least on the surface, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration voiced objections to it, raising the possibility that the measure could be vetoed….
read … City Council passes bill on ride-hailing firms and taxis
County Council seeks feedback on polystyrene ban
MN: Last week, the Maui County Council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee passed a bill that would prohibit the use of polystyrene food service containers throughout Maui County starting on July 1, 2018, if approved by the full council….
Exemptions are written into the bill for packaging situations unique to a food provider where compliance would cause significant financial hardship or leave no affordable alternatives. Similar to the plastic bag prohibition, this proposal would require changes to our daily habits, one of them to an island staple, the plate lunch.
It remains critical to hear from residents and everyday users in the business community to address whether this legislation is workable and if any further amendments are needed before passage. I encourage feedback either in person or via email at county.clerk@maui county.us.
The bill will likely be heard for first reading on Dec. 16 at 9 a.m. in the Council Chambers. The full text of the bill can be viewed on our website at mauicounty.us/polystyrene….
read … Stop Harassing the People