Tax Credits: Cronies and Phonies Rake in Millions
HART’s Colbert Matsumoto to Open Marijuana Dealership Just Outside Waikiki
PBN: A medical marijuana dispensary with ties to Hawaii businessman Colbert Matsumoto is opening in the former Bank of Hawaii branch on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu, Pacific Business News has learned.
(A short walking distance to Waikiki resale $5 each opportunities for the 200-400 joints you roll from your monthly ‘medical’ half-pound = $1000 to $2000. If Colbert gets $1000 per half pound, you will need to roll thin joints to make a profit. Roll fast to beat the competition.)
Located at 727 Kapahulu Ave., the branch was sold to Honolulu real estate and private equity firm Tradewind Capital Group for $4.5 million about a year ago. Matsumoto, founder and chairman of Tradewind, also is on the board of directors for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation that’s overseeing the rail transit project.
(If you keep the people doped up, they won’t notice what you’re doing. But they have to be able to make a profit on that half pound.)
Tradewind is also the primary investor in Cure Oahu, one of three medical marijuana companies on Oahu to get a license to sell its products.
The other two licensees are Aloha Green Holdings Inc. and Manoa Botanicals LLC.
Aloha Green, the top-scoring medical marijuana licensee on Oahu, is leasing out space the Interstate Building on South King Street in Honolulu for what is likely to become a dispensary for the company, as first reported by PBN….
Manoa Botanicals also has found spaces for its office, retail and warehouse components for its operation.
PBN: Department of Health's delays frustrate Hawaii's medical marijuana industry
read … Sell half pound to each medicated doper
Isle health costs to jump an average of 6.2 percent—Obamacare Plans Jump 35%
SA: More than half a million Hawaii residents in commercial health plans will see an average 6.2 percent rate hike Sunday.
The state Insurance Division estimates that 534,647 people will be affected by rising premiums at the start of the year, including 45,363 individuals who will see the highest average jump at 33.2 percent due to substantial increases for policies under the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The state Insurance Division, which regulates health plan rates, approved a 35 percent rate hike for Hawaii Medical Service Association members and a 25.9 percent increase for Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Affordable Care Act policies.
An estimated 390,120 members in large-group policies under HMSA, Kaiser, HMAA (Hawaii Medical Assurance Association) and UHA (University Health Alliance) will see an 11.7 percent boost in premiums, while 99,164 people in small groups will see rates climb by 2.8 percent, the division said. Groups might have lower or higher increases from the averages depending on an employer group’s plan and insurer….
“Much of this year’s Affordable Care Act individual plan rate increase is because a small group of people are using significantly more health care services than we expected and the program did not attract enough young, healthy individuals. This has led to a $33 million loss on ACA individual plans over the past two years,” HMSA said. “We’re evolving the way we work to avoid this situation next year and, more importantly, better support these members’ health and well-being. That’s why we’ve assigned dedicated HMSA team members — registered nurses and care coordinators — to work closely with these individuals and their doctors, so they can reach their best health and gain better control over health care costs.”
SA: Big Property Developer wants Suicide for Expensive Patients
read … Lucky you don’t have Obamacare
Rep Gene Ward Maps Homelessness in Hawaii Kai—Activists Demand Censorship
SA: The map describes an (unnamed) man at China Walls as a meth addict “Whose Mother Has Restraining Order Against Him” and, at Hawaii Kai Towne Center, a “Mentally Ill Homeless Man (who) Frequently Screams at People.” They are among 11 suspected homeless hot spots from Sandy Beach to Hahaione…. (And don’t forget: “Naked man with knives ravages woman’s garden Nov 17, 2016”)
Ward could be running afoul of federal privacy laws that protect the disclosure of medical conditions (LOL!), as well as jeopardizing potential federal funding to Hawaii from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (LOLROTF!), said Tristia Bauman, senior attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based National Law Center on Homeless & Poverty….
(Quick IQ Test—do you believe her?)
“Publishing a map of ‘reported homeless events’ in public areas only serves to move us further away from addressing the causes of homelessness,” Mateo Caballero, the Hawaii ACLU’s legal director, wrote in an email to the Star-Advertiser. “Instead, it is an open invitation to further profile, dehumanize and harass those that have nowhere to go (besides shelter) except our parks, sidewalks and shared public spaces. (Well OK, that’s a lie, but we are working hard to eliminate shelter spaces so this will become a true statement.) The Constitution protects the rights of the poor and homeless against government policies that target them unfairly or criminalize their mere existence (attempt to treat their mental illness and drug addictions).”
(Quick IQ Test—do you believe him?)
(Civil Disobedience Idea: Make a map of homeless camps in YOUR community.)
read … Homeless Map
Untangle rules blocking housing
SA: …A state study released two years ago estimated that more than 11,000 rental units are needed on Oahu by low- and moderate-income households by 2020. It’s unclear how close we are to meeting that demand, but it’s a safe bet that city, state and federal regulatory tangles have bogged down the pace of construction. Developers and government should be working better in tandem to align processes so that affordable housing is easier to produce.
Developer Stanford Carr, for example, says he can build low-income rental projects such as Kakaako’s Halekauwila Place by pairing them with more market-priced structures, such as the neighboring Keauhou Place tower, which is now under construction. While asset checks, credit checks and other demands tied to a builder’s application to secure federal and state financing are rigorous, Carr said: “What we’re trying to do is come up with different tools … to incentivize and make it easier for developers like myself to build more” affordable housing.
He added, in the long-run, “It’s going to take public-private partnerships. … It’s going to take long-term ground leases with state lands or city lands to enable us to build in the urban core. And it’s still not easy.”
Honolulu voters unraveled one tangle last month by approving changes to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, allowing it to be used to develop rental housing for those earning 60 percent or less of the median household income. Previously, income limits for residents of Affordable Housing Fund-assisted dwellings were less than 50 percent of the median.
Passage of City Charter amendment No. 5 also changed the length of time that rental housing must remain affordable from “in perpetuity” to “60 years.” The perpetuity clause had blocked developers from leveraging their financing with federal and state tax credits and funds from the state’s Rental Housing Revolving Fund, which ask for the affordability to be up to 60 years only.
Now is the time for the governor, lawmakers and others to work together to snip bureaucratic red-tape impeding the progress of viable affordable housing projects.….
read … Untangle rules blocking housing
Kihei Water Even Dirtier than Lahaina?
MN: …The study by Mailea Miller-Pierce and Neil Rhoads of Washington State University, published earlier this year in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, concluded that the water quality off Kihei downslope from the Kihei wastewater treatment plant may be worse than the water quality off Lahaina near the Lahaina wastewater treatment plant.
Studies have shown that treated effluent from injection wells at the Lahaina wastewater plant has reached the ocean. The county has been found in violation of the Clean Water Act due to injection wells, though the case remains in litigation….
read … Group funding part of water study follow-up
2017: Enviros Still see no way to Shut Down Fishing Fleet
CB: …The U.S. fleet hit its 2016 limit of 3,554 tons of bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific by July. Bigeye is one of two types of tuna known as ahi in Hawaii; the other is yellowfin.
Under agreements with Pacific island territories, including Guam and the Northern Marianas, Hawaii’s commercial fishermen were able to resume fishing for another 2,000 tons of bigeye this past year.
These quota-sharing deals, which involve the longline industry making payments of $275,000 into a fund that the territories can use for harbor improvements, have weathered lawsuits but still face criticism from some countries whose leaders view them as undermining the agreed-upon catch limits.
Quota-sharing deals are expected in 2017 as well, when the U.S. will see another cut in its bigeye catch limit, to 3,345 tons.
The other major countries under the commission’s jurisdiction face the same percentage cuts: China to 7,049 tons, Japan to 16,860 tons, South Korea to 12,869 tons and Chinese Tapei (Taiwan) to 9,675 tons.
read … Too Bad
Zika in Hawaii Since 2009?
SA: …University of Hawaii researchers say severe birth defects related to the Zika virus occurred in the islands several years before this year’s outbreaks in Brazil and Puerto Rico.
UH scientists discovered a prevalence of Zika-related antibodies in Hawaii mothers who delivered babies between 2009 and 2012, linking the infection and a condition known as microcephaly, a rare birth defect that causes brain damage and is characterized by an infant’s abnormally small head.
Researchers identified six mothers who gave birth to babies with microcephaly using blood samples collected from mothers at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children. The samples had been stored at UH for future research. Zika virus antibodies were detected in three of the six mothers who delivered babies with birth defects….
Hawaii has not had an outbreak or reported transmission of the virus locally….
UH News: Zika virus-infected mothers delivered babies with microcephaly as early as 2009
NYP: Travelers are ditching Zika-filled Caribbean for Hawaii this winter
read … Zika