How Christmas Came to Hawaii
Can the Unions Dodge the Law?
89 Candidates Register for Neighborhood Board Elections
Former Rep Mark Moses Dead at 68
How Billy Kenoi Gave Himself Control of Hawaii County Hiring Decisions from Top to Bottom
HTH: …“I told them until each department’s process of hiring is approved by this office, you will not proceed with hiring any employees,” Kim said late Wednesday. “It’s a freeze, yes, but not really a freeze. It’s a halt until procedures are in place.”
Hiring policies and procedures have changed considerably since Kim left office in 2008. The county Human Resources Department restructured and centralized procedures after it implemented a new computerized application system in 2011.
Under those changes, the HR Department, not the individual agencies, runs the help-wanted ads and accepts and screens applications, while a committee from various departments and the mayors office interviews and ranks candidates.
Critics say the centralized process gave too much power to the mayor to select employees from the top official down to the worker who cuts the grass.
Kim said he doesn’t want to pick employees, but he wants the department heads to be able to hire without so much oversight from the HR Department and the mayor. He said HR’s role is to vet candidates and forward the ones who qualify to the department head, who picks the top candidate.
“Human Resources is supposed to tell you who qualifies … the hiring agency conducts the screening and review process,” Kim said. “That was taken away. The mayor’s office was in the interview, and why should it be?”….
the newspaper regularly fields complaints from members of the public who believe the process isn’t fair and they were given short shrift in the hiring process.
Last year, West Hawaii Today broke stories about former Mayor Billy Kenoi’s campaign manager netting a county management position, and the growing practice of the county to use successive 90-day contract hires rather than going through the civil service merit procedure to hire and promote employees….
Approximately 2,600 of the county’s 190,000 people work for county government. About 57 percent of the county’s operating budget is devoted to their pay and benefits.
In all, some 12,800 people, about 20 percent of the county’s 63,500 non-agricultural workforce, labors for federal, state or county government on the island, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
read … Control
Welfare for the Rich--State paid $318.47M in tax credits for 2014
SA: Claims for renewable energy systems totaled $112.1 million for tax year 2014, down slightly from the $118.3 million in 2013, according to the tax credits report released by the state Department of Taxation earlier this month….
The Renewable Energy Technologies Tax Credit was 35.2 percent of the total tax credits claimed in tax year 2014. ($112.1/0.352 = $318.47M)
Following renewable energy in the amount claimed by Hawaii taxpayers was the Income Tax Paid to Another State or to a Foreign Country, with taxpayers claiming $38 million; the High Technology Business Investment Tax Credit, with taxpayers claiming $37 million; and the Motion Picture, Digital Media and Film Production Income Tax Credit, with taxpayers claiming $34 million.
Some 14,902 claims were filed for the renewable energy systems credits. The majority of the credits were for solar systems with 14,144 solar claims filed. Roughly $55 million in tax credits went to individuals who installed solar systems. Corporations received $42 million in tax credits for solar systems.
Claims totaling about $39,000 were filed by individuals for wind systems….
“Somewhere over 80,000 homes and businesses will have benefited” from energy tax credits, said Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Provision Solar….
read … State paid $112M in renewable energy tax credits for 2014
HECO Rate Hike Allows for $106M Profits
IM: …Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) wants to raise base rates for O`ahu customers. Base rates is one component of customer bills.
“Based on a revenue requirement of $1,642,362,000 for a normalized 2017 test year, the Company’s proposed increase is $106,383,000 (6.9%) over revenues at current effective rates.”….
On O`ahu, the four largest customers, the military, the State and County Governments, and the University, account for a very large fraction of total demand…..
Everything is Still on the Table
“We will continue to evaluate LNG as one alternative in the transition to 100 percent renewable energy.”
“Our planners and engineers continue to evaluate alternatives including pumped storage hydropower, run-of- river hydropower, hydrogen storage and production for potential transportation uses, low-temperature geothermal, ocean-wave technology and the identification of customer loads that when coupled with time-of-use rates can be shifted to times when renewable energy is abundant.”
“The Companies will continue to evaluate the sizing and timing of load shifting storage as storage costs evolve and additional renewable resources are added to the system.”
“The Companies will continue to evaluate the regulation and ramping requirements necessary to address increasing levels of variable resources.”
“The Companies will continue to evaluate traditional and non-traditional solutions to maintain proper operating voltages, conducive to integrating higher levels of DER [Distributed Energy Resources]”
“We will continue to evaluate interisland transmission to enable long-term resource integration.”
read … On the 12th of Christmas, HECO Gave To Us
Still time to turn rail woe into bus way
SA: Rail was supposed to cost $3 billion … then $4.6 billion … then $5.2 billion. The latest official estimate is $8.1 billion … but the city reportedly is thinking about raising it to $9.5 billion.
The city’s latest upper-bound estimate is $10.8 billion. As that term is defined, there is only a 10 percent chance of costs reaching upper-bound estimate. Two years ago, that estimate was $7.6 billion.
The Federal Transit Administration advises against building rail unless money is set aside annually to ensure safety and reliability in future years. Based on experiences elsewhere, the minimum annual contribution should be $100 million.
Actual ridership on recent rail projects around the country has averaged 40 percent less than had been predicted. The last elevated system built achieved ridership that was 75.9 percent less than had been projected. The consultant who prepared that projection, Parsons Brinkerhoff, also prepared ours.
The city claims that the percentage of commuters who use public transportation will increase from 6 percent to 7.4 percent once rail has been built. But most cities have experienced a decline in bus ridership as money is diverted from the existing bus system to pay for rail operations and maintenance. The combined rate for bus and rail is usually less than was the rate for just the bus….
It’s not too late to convert the existing guideway to use by bus rapid transit. Some of the saved money could then be used to reduce traffic congestion, such as by installing flyovers and bypasses in chokepoint areas like the Middle Street merge; adding new contraflow and bus-on-shoulder options; adding new traffic lanes to existing roads; and expanding Honolulu’s bus system, such as by increasing the number of express buses that go where commuters want to go, rather than eliminating most of them, as is part of the current rail plan.
PDF: FULL VERSION
read … Still Time
Three Year Effort by 12 Social Workers to Convince ONE Schizophrenic Drug Addict to Accept Shelter
SA: It took repeated efforts, 10 to 12 social workers, the city, state and four social service agencies to finally get Jodi Jennette Inks to abandon her encampment on the slopes of Diamond Head and give up a life of homelessness.
Inks, 46, moved into a temporary room in the city’s Pauahi Hale housing project in Chinatown on Wednesday and became the first of 30 chronically homeless people who now have city housing vouchers that will cover 70 percent of their rent and — most importantly — give them a shot at changing their lives and staying off the street….
They’re all beneficiaries of the city’s Housing First effort, now in its third year….
Inks, who is also a recovering “ice” addict who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression.
Inks was cloudy on the details of her homeless past and estimated that she had been on the streets for at least a decade. She was homeless while she was pregnant, and Inks’ 8-year-old daughter now lives in Sacramento, Calif.
Over the years, Inks said, she could often be found in some corner of Kapiolani Park or Ala Moana Park listening to voices in her head — and shouting back at them “at the top of my lungs.” ….
it was only after the back-to-back deaths of her father and stepmother last month that she was finally ready to accept the help she had been offered on a nearly weekly basis while camping out on the makai side of Diamond Head….
Jay Parasco, the city’s homeless initiatives coordinator, said 29 other chronically homeless people are lined up right behind Inks with rental vouchers provided by the city while the state administers a federal grant that covers their social service assistance.
One of them has been homeless in Kailua for 30 years. Another has been living on the streets of Chinatown and Waikiki for more than 20 years….
Nine more chronically homeless people are expected to follow Inks into Pauahi Hale, Parasco said.
The other 20 who also have housing vouchers will have to be accommodated elsewhere, he said.
They could move temporarily into empty city housing like Inks or possibly directly into a market-rate apartment, Parasco said….
Alternative: Forced incarceration in lunatic asylum. Can be accomplished in three minutes instead of three years.
read … Efforts taking 30 long-term homeless off the streets