How Christmas Came to Hawaii
Land of Make Believe: Hawaiian Electric Claims it Can Reach 48% Renewable by 2020
Rail Guideway Reaches Aloha Stadium
2017 Grant-In-Aid Applications now available
Taxpayers Suffer $39M Hit--Judge reverses decision, keeps ‘Residential A’ property tax
SA: The new tax class, which is bringing in tens of millions of dollars in revenue annually for the city, was passed by the Honolulu City Council in 2013.
The higher property tax bracket affects nonresidents, investors with multiple residential properties on Oahu and property owners who may have qualified for the home exemption but didn’t apply for it.
City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong said after the hearing that she was “very happy” with the judge’s decision.
“It’s a very significant decision for the entire city,” she said. “The tax revenues generated by this are about $39 million a year, so it is a very important piece of tax legislation. I can’t tell you how important it is for the city’s finances.”
About 20 property owners with parcels designated Residential A sued the city earlier this year, arguing that the ordinance was unfair and unconstitutional, in part, because it discriminated against nonresidents.
Property owners who fall under the Residential A classification are taxed at $6 per $1,000 of assessed value instead of the $3.50 per $1,000 that standard residential class owners pay.
The higher tax rate applies to properties that are valued at $1 million or more and don’t have a home exemption. The exemption is granted to residential owners who live in their homes.
Big Q: What do you think about a state judge reversing himself and ruling in favor of the Residential A property tax?
read … Coal in ths Stocking from Mayor Grinch
Panel Sort of chooses to let 12% pay raises for mayor and appointees stand
MN: The 12 percent pay raise approved earlier this month for Mayor Alan Arakawa and his department appointees stands after the Maui County Salary Commission took no new action Friday, despite calling a special meeting after questions arose about the nondescriptive agenda item posted for its last meeting.
The panel held a special meeting Friday intended as a “redo” of its Dec. 9 meeting, during which members approved the raises for the mayor and his department directors and deputies. That action came under an agenda that did not specifically say that the nine-member appointed panel would be considering pay raises for Arakawa and his top officials. There was an agenda heading for “deliberation and decision making,” but there were no specifics.
Commission Vice Chairman James Likes, who headed the Dec. 9 and Friday meetings, has said that the panel received legal advice confirming that its actions Dec. 9 could fall under “deliberations” in the agenda, but admitted possible misinterpretations and that the agenda item could have been more specific.
The agenda for Friday’s meeting did note “action on compensation” for the mayor, managing director and deputy managing director, county auditor, and directors and deputy directors of county departments.
But, during the meeting, the panel twice failed to take a vote on the salary increases, caught up in confusion related to Robert’s Rules of Order and complicated motions on amending previous actions.
The panel Friday did decide to defer discussion on the county auditor’s salary for its next meeting, which is scheduled for March.
The lack of action means that the panel’s Dec. 9 decision stands, though Deputy Corporation Counsel Gary Murai noted that the decision “may be subject to challenge.”
read … Merry Christmas to County Execs
Honolulu Cancer Center Pins Hopes on ‘Moonshot’
SA: …legislation dubbed the 21st Century Cures Act has been enacted, setting aside $1.8 billion for what’s described as a “moonshot” initiative….
There are two more points that can be celebrated in what has been a rocky road for the cancer center.
One is that Gov. David Ige spoke to attendees at the Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Coalition summit just after President Barack Obama signed the federal law. His vow was to seek $10 million for the UH Cancer Center into the biennium budget prepared for the coming legislative session.
Another is that Dr. Randall F. Holcombe, a renowned colon cancer specialist, was hired as the director of the center. He has impressive credentials and ambitious plans for the center that should give confidence to lawmakers examining the governor’s appeal.
These developments could not have happened at a more opportune time. The center, long mired in leadership conflicts and a crippling debt, needed a course correction if it was to keep its critical National Cancer Institute designation. The center brings in over $20 million annually in federal research dollars, and about $4 million hinges on that designation: These grants are available only to NCI centers.
read … Mired
Homeless Habitual Drunken Criminal May Get Room and Board for 1 Year at County Jail Thanks to New Law
MN: A homeless man with a history of property crime convictions is facing a felony habitual property crime charge after he was arrested Tuesday for striking an employee while leaving a Kihei store without paying for a bottle of rum.
If convicted of the charge, Sterling Mason, 46, faces a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment of one year.
Under a law that took effect July 1, the habitual property crime charge can be brought against someone who commits a property crime after having convictions within the past 10 years for two felony or misdemeanor property crime offenses on different dates, said Deputy Prosecutor John Tam….
He identified Mason as having a criminal history that includes convictions for second-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, a felony, and first-degree criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. The convictions were in 2015 and 2014 cases….
WHT: Homeless Tweekers van near busy Ocean View school bus stop removed
read … Habitual Drunken Criminal
HFD fined $15K for fireman’s death
SA: … Jenkins said the division found the department did not evaluate and control workplace hazards during the training exercise and did not make sure that safety devices were sound.
He said the department does not know how Rigsbee suffered blunt force trauma to his head that resulted in spinal injuries.
Rigsbee, 63, was on a sled pulled by a Jet Ski during a training exercise.
Jenkins said the department was criticized for not replacing the lanyard, which showed signs of corrosion….
read … $15K Fine
Former Rep Mark Moses Dead at 68
KHON: ...Republican Mark Moses represented the Makakilo and Kapolei communities from 1996-2006.
According to his wife, Moses died Wednesday from complications from lupus. He was 68 years old.
He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a major and will be buried at the Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe on Dec. 27….
SA: Former state lawmaker Mark Moses dies at age 68
read … Mark Moses