State Procurement Office Launches Investigation into OHA Professional Services Contracts
Honolulu Neighborhood Board Elections 430 Candidates Register with One Day to Go
Hawaii Motor Vehicle Deaths Jump 27%
DOH: Dairy Farm EIS Decision Coming Feb 24
Will HSTA Report Expenses for 6,000 Lobbyists?
Caldwell to Build Affordable Housing With Same Efficiency as Rail
CB: The mayor’s proposals call for incentivizing the private sector to build more affordable units by waiving fees for things like sewer hookups….
Working with the City Council, city-owned land would be leased to developers for affordable housing projects.
Here is more about the mayor’s plan, provided to the media in brief bullet points before his speech:
- all affordable units to be built must remain affordable for 30 years, whether for sale or rent, as opposed to only 10 years as currently required;
- Department of Planning application and permit fees would be waived to encourage developers to build more affordable units;
- more than $100 million in private activity bonds would be made available to help developers raise funds; and
- the city would lease land at nine locations stretching from Kapolei Parkway to Ala Moana Center for housing developments.
“We want the private sector to build, not government,” said Caldwell.
read … We’re All Doomed
Blackmail: HECO Scores $61M, Free Trucks Thanks to Rail Tax Payers
SA: Local rail officials and Hawaiian Electric Co. say they’ve agreed to a cheaper fix for many of the utility-line clearance problems that have plagued Oahu’s elevated transit project, saving about $140 million.
Under the new $61.5 million plan, which was unveiled at Thursday’s Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board meeting, most of the overhead power lines running along the rail route’s first 11 miles from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium would stay put, and HECO crews would work on them using new, specialized trucks and cranes.
The plan avoids a costlier, $200 million worst-case scenario for HART and the city, in which all of those lines would have been relocated underground to avoid rail’s concrete pathway.
Instead, the city will pay for the new equipment and the cost to put just some of the lines underground.
The agreement follows about four years of wrangling between HART and HECO to resolve the clearance problems.
(Its easy for HECO to get free stuff when they pay for many elected officials.)
read … Rail project saving $140M on power-line clearance
First Lateral: Several Energy Bills Survive Hawaii Legislature Deadline
IM: Thursday, February 15th, was the First Lateral deadline for the 2017 State Legislature.
All bills must have been heard by all committees to which they were assigned, except for the last committee. Those bills which are not at their last committee are dead for this session, unless something extraordinary occurs. They are still alive for next year, the second year of the biennium.
The next deadline is fast approaching, where all bills must be passed in their origination body --House or Senate-- and then sent to the other body….
Representative Lee introduced HB 1582 HD1 which would amend the State Constitution to include access to clean drinking water, education, and health care, as inalienable rights of individuals (and therefore to be treated as having no economic value, thus making all MDs State employees so that health care will be delivered with the same smiling efficiency that all other State services are delivered).
Senator Baker introduced SB 376 to repeal the interisland cable regulatory system.
Representative Lowen introduced HB 903 HD1 to offer a simply fix to the definition of Renewable Portfolio Standards, the measure by which our success to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity is measured. The bill has been modified to also include the Gas Company.
… Representative Lowen introduced HB1249 HD2 bring about the transition to net zero buildings. The current draft creates a DBEDT working group.
Representative Quinlin introduced HB 1294 HD1 to end the practice of “open-door air conditioning”, whereby some boutiques seek to cool the sidewalk to encourage customers to enter their stores. The current draft creates a DBEDT Task Force to make recommendations.
…Senator Dela Cruz introduced SB 1207 to examine whether a Lake Wilson pumped-storage hydroelectricity is feasible….
Microgrids are now in vogue. Representative Lowen introduced HB 1248 HD1 which would establish a microgrid demonstration projects at the Natural Energy Labatory of Hawai`i (NELHA).The current draft also creates a microgrid advisory group and provides for PUC oversight.
Another microgrid bill is HB848 HD2, which would allow the University of Hawai`i to build a microgrid that would interconnect to the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) grid, without any regulatory oversight by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)….
read … Legislature Deadline
Target Legislators who fail to introduce bills
Cataluna: Legislators who fail to introduce bills — putting no points in the board — are seen in our current game as being ineffective, ripe for knocking off in the next election….
read … Targets
SB107 Minimum Wage Vehicle Focuses Debate on Tip Credit
SA: Rhoads’ bill would increase the minimum wage from $9.25 an hour today to $12.25 by Jan. 1, 2018, and to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019.
SB 107 will also authorize the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to adjust the minimum wage after 2019 as the regional consumer price index fluctuates.
Monica Ryan, owner of the restaurant Highway Inn, opposed the bill. She said in written testimony that if the proposed wage increases were ratified, one serving of laulau at her restaurant would cost a customer $15.42 by 2022. The current price of laulau at Highway Inn is $6.95, Ryan said….
SB 107 was approved Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, and now goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
However, similar minimum wage proposals in the House appear to be failing. The House Committee on Labor and Public Employment on Tuesday considered three minimum wage bills — House Bills 442, 5 and 1433 — but deferred them all….
2014: Flawed Minimum Wage Hike Advocacy Will Cost Hawaii's Poorest Workers $7M this Year
read … Tip Credit
Incompetent DoE Payroll: Two Months to get Your First Paycheck
HNN: …There are 1,300 to 1,500 vacancies to fill out of the DOE's 13,200 teachers….
Another complaint from teachers is that it can take one to two months to get their first paycheck.
Question: Have you ever heard of ADP?)
read … Incompetent
Sheriffs Refuse to Stop Auto Burglar
KHON: …Bob Lipske was in Kakaako when he saw someone going to several parked cars, trying to open the doors and windows.
He called 911 and followed the suspicious man as he went to the lot by Kakaako Waterfront Park, and saw him do more of the same.
“He sees me there and he says, ‘What are you doing?’ (and I said) ‘I’m describing you to the police right now,’ so he’s like, ‘I’m not doing anything.’ ‘That’s fine,’ I said. ‘You can explain it to the police when they get here.'”
Sheriffs have jurisdiction in the area, and one came soon enough.
“I said, ‘That’s the guy who’s trying to break into cars,’ and the sheriff says, ‘That’s not my call,’ and so he drove off,” Lipske said.
Lipske was determined and called 911 again. Another car with two sheriffs came a few minutes later.
Lipske says that time, he even offered to take them to where the suspect had ran off to to identify him, but he says the sheriffs were not interested….
read … About Public Employees who want a Raise
Two Months of Canvassing Diamond Head – Only 6 Homeless Accept Shelter
HNN: It's estimated there are between 30 and 35 people living on the makai side of the Diamond Head State Monument. The tents are spread out. Social workers say most of the people have been there for years. In some cases more than a decade.
Earlier this week crews began posting notices in the area alerting campers they had 30-days to leave. Now social workers are back offering help to anyone who will take it. They've sheltered six people in the past two months.
While workers canvassed the mountainside crews from the state began placing markers atop piles of rubbish. Garbage trucks can't get to the area so workers will have to manually haul out all of the trash.
The state will begin it's clean up towards the end of next month.
Hawaii News Now has learned the City has jurisdiction over the cliffs on the makai side of Diamond Head Road therefore they will not be included in this sweep….
KHON: 911 caller says sheriffs failed to act on reports of suspicious activity
read … Dozens of homeless living on Diamond Head told to move out
Eager to Use Homeless for Political Agit-Prop
TG: …But counting homeless people outside of places such as Skid Row can be complicated. During this year’s count in Hawaii – the state with the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in America – volunteers fanned out across the islands to count homeless residents.
Its homeless population has soared 30% since 2007 in tandem with real estate prices – what some call the “paradise premium”.
At Waikiki Beach, Honolulu’s arc of white sand, social worker Colleen Nakamura watched as a man with matted gray hair passed by on the promenade, clutching a bulging grocery bag. Did it contain a recent purchase – or his worldly belongings? She made a judgment call. “No,” she mouthed to another volunteer.
That call – rightly or wrongly – will mean one less person on Hawaii’s count for 2017.
Another person who will be left off the tally is Chris Kauffman, 39, who sat in a gray minivan filled with bags of his possessions and surfboards on the outskirts of the neighborhood when he saw the volunteers walk past. He has been living in his vehicle for two years because he was unable to afford rent. He wouldn’t mind answering the survey, he said, but nobody had asked him. “I’m pretty smart,” he said softly. “I know where to sleep so the police don’t bother me.”…
Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco said: “We have this emergence of a very visible and very large homeless population in the shadow of tremendous affluence,” she said. “As folks are forced to remain on the streets for longer and longer, they’re really disintegrating. They’re developing more severe mental illnesses and more severe medical disorders, and losing limbs and in wheelchairs.” …. (IQ Test: Do you see how she has reversed cause and effect?)
read … Push to nationalize Housing
TVRs Account for 1/3 of Hawaii Visitor Accommodations
HNN: …The study found an estimated 20,000 vacation rental units statewide.
That's in addition to the 43,000 available hotel rooms….
KHON: What’s with all the big houses? Some are apartment buildings in disguise
read … TVRs
Greenmail: Bill aims to create and Profit from disputes over trail on Kauai
SA: State lawmakers are weighing a bill that requires the state to identify the path of the ancient Ala Loa trail on Kauai and recognize it as a public trail.
The trail, which generally follows the coast around the island, apparently includes a section that crosses the property of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as other oceanfront property owners reluctant to open their land. (And he’s rich. Do the math.)
The bill, introduced by state Rep. Kaniela Ing, is expected to be approved on second reading today by the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs and then move on to the House Committee on Water and Land.
The measure was approved Tuesday despite a request by state Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case that it be deferred.
In written testimony, Case said that while the department, through its Na Ala Hele trail and access program, has determined from registered maps that the trail is owned by the state, the problem is that the exact location still remains undetermined.
“To date the department has not been able to confirm the location of this historic trail — indeed evidence indicates it may have been located further mauka away from the coast near the main highway,” she said. (But that’s not where the expensive oceanfront properties are so we need to re-think this until we get it right $$$$.)
read … Greenmail
When it Comes to ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Hawaii is all talk
SA: Question: Is Honolulu a sanctuary city and county, as many other cities are across the nation, in violation of federal laws, thereby jeopardizing our federal funds for our Police and Fire departments and the city’s beloved rail project?
Answer: No. Your question refers to an executive order President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25 seeking to deny federal funding to “sanctuary cities,” a phrase used to describe places that limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents. You can read the order at 808ne.ws/DJTJan25.
At least five states and 633 counties have laws or policies designed to prevent city, county or state law enforcement from helping federal agents detain undocumented immigrants, but no place in Hawaii is among them, according to data from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center as reported by The New York Times. See a map at 808ne.ws/sanctmap.
read … Hypocrites for Illegals