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Wednesday, February 01, 2017
February 1, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:22 PM :: 1559 Views

Rep Kaniela Ing: Tickets, Lies, and Bin Laden

After Speaking at Anti-Trump Rally, Rep Beth Fukumoto Prepares to Quit GOP

‘Challenging and exciting times’

SB938: Eliminate DoTax 10% Rail Skim

HB663 and SB501: Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

DOH fights lawsuit on their non-posting of inspection reports even as two bills in the Legislature again fund the posting

HECO Solar Deal: Wholesale Rate Finally Equals Average Mainland Retail Rate

BLNR Approves Big Island Carbon Credit Scam 

DLNR Seeks Applicants: Commission on Water Resource Management

Parents asked to provide feedback on their child’s public school

How Many Tourists is Too Many?

Report: A Decade of Human Trafficking in Hawaii

Information sessions for Oahu Neighborhood Board Candidates

Peter Pakemai, Master Canoe Carver

GE Tax Hike: Legislature ‘Very Upset’ at Rail Lies -- Caldwell Offers Bribe 

SA: “I think right now it’s questionable whether we will get the surcharge extended. I’m very concerned. I think we’re having a harder time than two years ago, and it’s all based on the fact that there’s no trust, that the numbers given have changed dramatically.”—Caldwell

“The Legislature is very upset, I’m equally upset, but at this point it’s not about looking backwards and trying to blame and say, ‘I’m angry,’” the mayor said. “We’ve got a problem. How do we come up with a solution that benefits everybody? And I think part of that solution is a sharing of the surcharge.” …

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said House Democrats would be reluctant to make the surcharge for rail permanent because that could preclude the state from increasing the excise tax in the future if money is needed for other state purposes such as improving public education.

Saiki said it will be difficult to win passage of another surcharge extension in the House, and said he needs to know more details about Caldwell’s proposal to know whether it would solve the problem.

“What exactly do they mean by a split?” he asked. “I think there are a lot of questions. Some members probably feel that they can’t rely on the answers that are being provided given past representations that were made to the Legislature.”

Currently the state takes a 10 percent share of the excise surcharge revenue, meaning the current split is 90-10 in favor of the city. Caldwell declined to say whether he has a specific percentage in mind for a new city-state split of the excise surcharge.

However, city Deputy Director of Budget and Fiscal Services Gary Kurokawa said the city has developed a financing model for rail that contemplates a city-state excise surcharge split of 80-20 or perhaps 75-25 in favor of the city.

He said a split that was more generous for the state would not leave enough money to properly finance the rail project and would likely cause the Federal Transit Administration to reject the city’s new financial plan for rail….

“Nobody has gotten behind any specific plan, and we are trying to get the information and see if there is something people could get behind,” Kouchi said. “I just think the first thing everybody wants is to know they’ve got information they can feel comfortable with so when they do make a decision, they can answer to the voters.”

He added, “That’s what was assured two years ago, and it didn’t pan out, so we want to be sure we’ve got good information this time.”

read … Mayor proposes larger share of rail tax for state

Nightmare: Just When You Thought You Were Free of Obamacare, Hawaii Legislature Decides to Keep It

AP:  Concerned about the dissolution of the Affordable Care Act, Hawaii lawmakers are introducing bills to merge into state law the consumer protections they consider the best parts of the federal program.  (Tax Hike on those who do not buy insurance.)

“I think they’re going to have a hard time with the replacement piece, and that’s what worries me,” said state Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee. “They’re going to repeal, but they’re not going to replace because they can’t get consensus.”

The Hawaii bills, introduced in the House and Senate, both included a mandate (Tax hike) that individuals purchase insurance….

“Without the federal money that would subsidize the cost, how would you make it affordable?” said Beth Giesting, a consultant lobbying for Hawaii Association of Health Care Plans. “If it’s not affordable, you can’t mandate it.”

Without knowing what the federal government is going to do, “we’re kind of working in the dark here,” Giesting said.  (But ignorance has never stopped the Hawaii Legislature before.)

At a hearing on the Senate bill Tuesday, Hawaii Medical Services Association, the state’s largest health insurance company, provided questions and comments on the bill, but didn’t support or oppose it….

HNN: Obamacare enrollment deadline is here despite uncertainty over future

read … Hawaii bills aim to save best parts of Affordable Care Act

HPD Refuses to Pay Kealoha’s $250K Golden Parachute:  Payoff Agreement in Default Feb 2

SA: Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s retirement agreement with the Police Commission calls for him to receive $250,000 from the Honolulu Police Department’s salaries and wages budget.

But does the commission have the authority to spend HPD money?

The question is particularly relevant because Acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto is making it clear he does not — and has not — supported paying the severance from the department’s coffers….

Neither the Honolulu City Charter nor the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, the two key documents that guide how the City and County of Honolulu functions, specifically give the seven-member commission authority to spend HPD money….

But Police Commission Chairman Max Sword, in an email response Tuesday, said expending money for a settlement is part of the act of removing the chief, a clear responsibility of the commission.

“The Honolulu Police Commission is given the sole authority, under the revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu, to appoint and terminate the chief of police, and this authority includes the terms of employment and retirement, including severance payment,” Sword said.

The Charter, however, calls for the city Salary Commission to establish the annual salary of the chief, currently at $182,088, as well as that of other city department heads….

The agreement, which the commission released to the media, states that Kealoha’s last day will be Feb. 28. He was to continue to be on paid leave from his job through then.

Kealoha is to be paid within 15 days of the (Jan 18) signing of the agreement (That would be Feb 2). An HPD spokeswoman said no payment had been made as of Tuesday.

Of the $250,000, $190,000 is considered a severance payment while $60,000 is to pay for fees, costs and expenses…. 

HNN: HPD Claims Affording Kealoha severance could mean cuts to public safety programs

read … Funding of police chief’s severance raises dispute

Maui: In Effort to Create More Homelessness, Soft on Crime Crowd Pushes for Mass Release of Criminals

MN: …MCCC held 447 inmates Tuesday, 214 percent more than its designed capacity of 209. State Department of Public Safety officials say the percentage is lower, about 150 percent, based on an operating capacity of 301 inmates.

Overcrowding has been a problem for more than a decade, and Public Safety Department officials are pleading for more money to expand bed space or build a new Maui facility. Civil rights groups and the county public defender’s office are asking for judicial reforms that might free more pretrial detainees, who make up more than half the jail’s population….

read … Give Them a Second or Twenty-Second Chance to Do it Again!

TMT contested case hearing slated to continue through February

HTH: Hearings officer Riki May Amano set the following dates last week: Feb. 13-16, 21-23 and 27-28….

Hearings are held in at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo and broadcast live at http://naleo.tv.

Archived videos are found at http://naleo.tv/featured-video.

read … Thru February

Bill would lower blood quantum requirement for Hawaiian Homestead successors if Congress Agrees

HNN:  …The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 required lease successors to be at least 1/4 Hawaiian in order to take over a lease. Nearly 100 years later, a proposal heard Tuesday at the state capitol aimed to lower that requirement to 1/32.

"I have four adult children and 10 grand children, and not one of my grandchildren would qualify as a successor under the current law," said Maui resident Blossom Feiteira.

"It's all about the perpetuation of our race and our people," added homesteader DeMont Conner….

there are concerns that this measure could upset the 26,000 people who are already on the agency's waiting list. Opponents of the measure say the wait list applicants, who are at least 50-percent Hawaiian, may never get a lease because homesteads won't open up.

Some argue that waitlisters deserve priority over those who are only 1/32 Hawaiian.

"That wasn't fair. These people should really be giving up the land so that other people on the wait list can have an equal opportunity on Hawaiian home lands," said Wailuku resident Bertha Pang Drayson, who is Hawaiian.

"The kuleana of making sure you get your share should not be put on the backs of your beneficiaries," said Feiteira.

Even if the proposal makes it through the legislature and the Governor's office, it will most likely need congressional approval.

"I would rather start and have it positioned in D.C., so that if the opportunity ever presented itself, our delegation can move quickly," Department of Hawaiian Home Lands chair Jobie Masagatani says.

Many agree that getting that level of support will require Hawaiians to present a united front.   

"Hawaiians shouldn't be pitted against each other. Blood quantum doesn't matter. What matters is you're willing to help perpetuate our culture," said State Rep. Kaniela Ing, (D) South Maui.  (IE a political test for Hawaiianness.)

read … Quantum

Duke Aiona: Tracking Assisted Suicide in Legislature

AM940: Just a quick email to let you know that I am hosting Dr. Craig Nakatsuka from Hawaii's Partnership on Appropriate & Compassionate Care every Monday on AM 940 (808 State Update) at 5:00 p.m.  If you are riding home from work, at your computer and listening (listen live here), this is the way to stay updated on assisted suicide.  Be ready to call in with your questions!

SA: Physician-assisted suicide supported

read … 808 State Update

Chemophobia: Bill Banning Many Sunscreen Products Advances In House

CB: A proposed ban on sunscreen products containing oxybenzone, which includes most of the sun protection items currently on store shelves (skin cancer, anyone?) , was approved by the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee on Tuesday.

Lawmakers were considering three bills related to oxybenzone, a chemical that protects skin from harmful UV rays but (allegedly) damages coral reefs (says who?)….

Oxybenzone is among 10 chemicals (allegedly) found (by whom?) to be toxic to coral organisms. It’s found in lotions, cosmetics and sunscreen, among other products. The chemical (allegedly) causes coral bleaching and inhibits coral organisms’ ability to reproduce.

House Bill 600, which would ban sale of personal care products contain oxybenzone, cleared the committee Tuesday. It has a companion measure in the Senate.

The bill now goes to the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Angus McKelvey, for consideration.

The two other bills heard Tuesday would require labels or signs warning consumers that products containing oxybenzone are potentially harmful to coral reefs. One was approved and one deferred

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, and a number of individuals (jumped on the arch of hysteria, riding it like a wave) testified in support of the bill to ban sales of products containing oxybenzone….

KGI: Legislator points to oxybenzone

read … Chemophobia

Anti-GMO Bills Pass Mike Gabbard Committee

KE: …Meanwhile, in that parallel universe known as the state Legislature, the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee passed some pesticide bills championed by the anti-GMO folks. As committee Chair Sen. Mike Gabbard observed:

“It's important to continue this conversation. As you can see, so many people testified. There was a lot of community interest in this bill."

Uh, hello, they were flown in to testify, Mike. Because the anti-GMO groups have big bucks to orchestrate this kind of dog and pony show, none of which they disclose. Think of it as a sort of shadow lobbying force giving an outsized voice to the less than 1% of the state's population it represents….

read … Musings: Huh?

Gabbard’s trip to Syria tied to pro-Assad group

SA: One of the organizers of a recent trip that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took to Syria conceded Monday that he and his brother had been members of a group called the Syrian Social Nationalist Party — which, according to news reports, has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has links to terrorist activities — but said they were no longer a part of the organization….

Erika Tsuji, a spokeswoman for the congresswoman, said by email that Gabbard had “no prior knowledge or relationship with Elie and Bassam Khawam.” She said Gabbard had been invited by former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who also went on the trip.

Stories published last week in The Guardian and The Daily Beast reported that the Khawam brothers belonged to the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which has been providing support to the Assad regime.

The Daily Beast reported that, according to the SSNP’s website, Elie and Bassam are still active in the organization and are “two of the key U.S.-based point men for the party — and, by extension, the Syrian dictatorship.”

The news site described the party as an “anti-Semitic political party accused of using female suicide bombers; of beating up Western and Arab journalists; helping U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah and the U.S.-sanctioned Syrian regime wage war in the Levant.”

KE: Musings: Treading on Tulsi

read … Gabbard’s trip to Syria tied to pro-Assad group

Advice for Muslims in Hawaii: Don’t (ahem) ‘Blow Up’ the Situation

SA: …However, Khan said there’s no need for Muslims to panic. He said this is a land of laws, and he believes in a governmental process that deals with and mollifies inequity.

His advice for Muslims in Hawaii?  “Don’t do any dumb things,” he said. “Don’t blow up the situation. There are ways to deal with it, legally, peacefully and through the system.” …

“But if you’ve got an evil spirit, you will do evil things…. To think you can stop it is ridiculous,” Esma Arslan said….

Muslim Association of Hawaii mosque plans to hold a peaceful event at UH Manoa on Feb. 10 to pass out pamphlets featuring refugee stories as well as information on Islam. It will occur at McCarthy Mall from noon to 2 p.m….

read … Later there will be a tactically opportune time for ‘blowing thing up’

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