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Wednesday, January 25, 2017
January 25, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:16 PM :: 1346 Views

Crabbes in the Bucket: Secret OHA Employee Surveys Reveal Distrust, Anger

Trump infrastructure priority list focuses on Public-Private partnerships--does not Include Honolulu Rail

Hawaii Non-Governmental Workers Receive Lowest Pay in USA

Vacant?  Planned Hires Normally Get Half-Year Funding

Split Honolulu into Two Counties

Making property taxes less taxing

Caldwell Pushes $65M Fuel tax, Vehicle Fee Hike

HNN: Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing raising the fuel tax by three cents, doubling parking meter rates in downtown and Waikiki, and hiking the vehicle weight tax by a penny a pound.

Those measures would bring in an estimated $65 million….

"It's horrible, expecially for students because we are poor," HPU student Veronika Ondrusova said.

"Nobody likes to pay more taxes," said Lisa Rapozo of Kahaluu….

Gary Kurokowa, deputy director of the City's Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. said of the three proposed increases the vehicle weight tax would bring in the most money.

"A lot of other jurisdictions have it by the value of the car. Unfortunately, Hawaii does have a weight tax and it is geared to larger, bigger vehicles," he said.

City Council member Kymberly Pine said the fuel and vehicle weight taxes will impact people living in outlying areas the most….

Big Q: Do you support Mayor Caldwell’s proposal to help pay for rail: raise city parking fees, and fuel and vehicle weight taxes?

SA: Tokuda said the city still isn’t providing enough detail or proof that it’s finally gotten a handle on project costs

read … Tax Hike

Water pipe woes Mean More rate Hikes

SA: All of this strongly suggests that time is of the essence in developing a rational plan for financing and completing repairs to the water delivery system — and that the water board must accelerate its pace toward that goal….

The water board is entirely rate-supported, with no tax funds. So the ratepayer will need to stay engaged in that process….

(Translation: Rate hikes coming.)

read … Water pipe woes a wake-up call

Few Crabbe Supporters Testify at OHA Board of Trustees Meeting

KITV: "Don't mislead people. That's what you're doing. It's not fair and all of this is a distraction," Akana said to Pratt-Aquino….

KITV's partners at Civil Beat obtained a document listing 33 internal complaints filed against Akana (organized by Crabbe, duh!)….

Some community members who attended the open portion of Tuesday's meeting expressed support for Akana.  "I don't want to see the chair removed as was suggested this morning. I think she's been there a very short time and that's not fair at all," said Ka'iulani Milham….

read … Tensions build at OHA

Survey Finds Homeless Dude Using Heroin for 48 Years

CB: ….This year, 450 volunteers signed up to count homeless all over Oahu. Including me. My section’s meeting place was at the Old Stadium Park….

One of the first questions people asked when we gathered to get our two-hour training last week to participate in the annual Homeless Persons Point-In-Time Count was, “Is this dangerous?” …

Before we fanned out, Brown cautioned, “Don’t flash your flashlight in anyone’s face. They might get upset. It might trigger something to make them go off.”

And she warned, “Don’t approach a homeless person by yourself. Always have someone with you to back you up. If you feel in danger, just raise your hand and walk three steps back. We will be there to help you.” …

Volunteers are told to back off when they get a refusal. But sometimes a homeless camper can be persuaded to change his or her mind when offered what outreach manager Phillips calls “incentives.”….

The count is one of the reports that’s required to the state wants to receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development federal funds. Last year, HUD granted Hawaii about $11.5 million in funding for transitional shelters, housing and other services to help the homeless statewide….

Later, as we walked tent-to-tent in the park, we came across Greg Sievers, a wiry 58-year-old man standing by his tarp, surrounded by a heap of boxes and broken bicycles.

Sievers said he’s been homeless in Hawaii for the last nine years since he moved here from Bluewater, New Mexico.

He said he was planning to retire in Honolulu with his $30,000 in savings, but then he saw how easy it was to live in a tent and he has been homeless ever since.

Sievers, like most of the people we interviewed, talked about drug use, but only reluctantly. He told us he began using heroin when he was 10 years old….

read … Homeless Count

Will Police Reform Finally Gain Traction In The 2017 Legislature?

CB: Here are brief descriptions of the bills that had been introduced as of Tuesday along with links to where you can find more detailed information. The names of lawmakers who introduced the measures are in parentheses….

read … Traction-in-the-2017-legislature 

Criminal Hee Company Loses in Court (again)

HNN: Sandwich Island Communications appealed to the courts after losing its federal subsidies to provide cable and other services on Hawaiian home lands.

The state Public Utilities commission blocked Sandwich Isles eligibility after CEO Hee was convicted of tax fraud for his personal use of company funds.

The federal government is also demanding $27 million in reimbursements.

Tuesday morning, a judge threw out the company's appeal….

read … Losers Tossed Out

HPD: City, not Department Should Foot Bill for Chief’s Golden Parachute

KHON: Acting Honolulu Police Chief Cary Okimoto expresses his disapproval on the retirement terms for embroiled Chief Louis Kealoha.

Aside from pension, the Police Commission will give Kealoha a $250,000 in severance pay.

Okimoto said in a statement--- "I am opposed to the use of departmental monies to fund the severance payment."

He said HPD did not take part in the discussion. 

PDF: View the letter in its entirety here.

read … Department Wants to Keep Its Money

Hawaii County Council: Keep Buying Booze on P-Cards

HTH: The Hawaii County Council moved no closer to passing new limits on buying alcohol with public funds after a second round of discussion Tuesday.

Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, who introduced a bill strictly prohibiting such purchases, postponed the measure again after a proposed amendment exempting sister city celebrations failed in a 4-5 vote during the Finance Committee.

“I’m going to stay right here at a complete prohibition on alcohol,” she said, adding she is leaving it up to her colleagues to make other proposals. “… That’s going to be the threshold from here on out.”

Members offered varying opinions of the existing law — which leaves such purchases up to the mayor or council chairperson to approve — and whether a full or partial prohibition is needed.

Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff…noted other counties have a complete ban….

read … Booze ban stalls again

Greenmail Activists Assert Right to Walk Through Zuckerberg Site

SA: …Naoshi Grady didn’t feel any aloha when he says he was harassed and intimidated while using a coastal trail that passes through the billionaire’s 700-acre property on Kauai.

“They told me I was on private property,” Grady said last week of the security workers who met him several months ago as he was returning from a day of spearfishing off Waipake. “They were threatening to take my picture and have me arrested. They were aggressive, rude and disrespectful.”

Grady, a 35-year-old Kilauea resident whose Native Hawaiian ancestors hiked to fishing spots on the same trail for generations, said he was so shaken by the confrontation that he filed a police report.

…Members of the Aha Moku council insist they have the proof, including one map that dates back from the 1830s, and other documents collected by former Kaua‘i Historical Society President Randy Wichman, who made a presentation to the panel in November.

“Hawaiians have been using that trail for centuries,” declared Randy Naukana Rego, an Aha Moku council member representing the Waipake Ahupuaa, which crosses Zuckerberg’s property. “Sorry, you bought property with the Ala Loa on it. Hello! It’s public land.” ….

(Soon, Zuckerberg will abandon his plan to live in Hawaii.)

read … Billionaire Target Juicy

Aloha Stadium redevelopment could soon begin with EIS

HNN: A state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill on Wednesday to take the next step in redeveloping the Aloha Stadium area. The measure calls for an environmental impact statement to be done for the 104-acre property in Halawa.

"I'm a believer that we want to see mixed use, not just a stadium. How about restaurants? How about housing? How about a hotel? How about business development?" explained Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi-Salt Lake).

The Stadium Authority recently endorsed a resolution to build a replacement for the aging facility.

"Although I think we have grand plans, the Navy, in all honesty, wasn't a good neighbor. You saw what they did at Radford, all the toxic waste. Who knows if there's a Navy dump under what we currently have there?" said Wakai.

read … Begin with EIS

Another High-Tech Tax Credit Flop--Hawaii fish farming company shuts down after 10 years in business

PBN: …Spencer, former longtime head of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, said the company never began commercial operations on the site nor did it at any time use or build permanent or temporary facilities.

The goal of the company, which attained U.S. patents, “was to demonstrate new fish farming technology that allows pelagic species such as tuna to be grown in deep ocean waters where constant currents and large volumes of clean water assure fish health and rapid mineralization of effluents.”

Hawaii Oceanic Technology was one of 35 Hawaii businesses to make the final cut for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2011 Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase….

read … Hawaii fish farming company shuts down after 10 years in business

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