One Integrated Approach to Tax Fairness?
Flooded With Fear
State Supreme Court says election board erred in not hearing challenge
Corrupt Former Fire Chief Arrested for Aiea Road Rage Murder
HNN: Family and friends identified the shooting victim as Keenyn Pahio, of Kalihi, a carpenter. Witnesses said two of Pahio's younger daughters were in his vehicle at the time of the incident….
It didn't take long for police to locate the alleged shooter, identified as 72-year-old Darryl Freeman.
Police said he barricaded himself inside his home, about two miles from the crime scene, before eventually surrendering. Freeman was arrested for second-degree murder.
Neighbors told Hawaii News Now they live in fear of Freeman and that he has a history of threatening others in the neighborhood.
Flashback, Star-Bulletin, 12-22-1999: Former Waiau chief on parole, making restitution -- “Question: What ever happened to Darryl Freeman, the former Waiau battalion fire chief sentenced in 1993 to state and federal prison terms involving convictions for theft, firearms violations, tax evasion, mail fraud and racketeering to defraud insurance companies with false claims of stolen cars? Why was his house not confiscated as his sentencing indicated? Answer: Freeman was paroled on his state term April 24, 1996, and was released from his federal sentence on Oct. 4 this year (1999). "He is under supervision with us and serving a term of supervised release," said Betty Taylor, chief U.S. probation officer, District of Hawaii.
read … Soft on Crime
Legislature is last hope of digging up true rail cost
Shapiro: Missing from Oahu rail from the start has been an honest broker to independently verify city claims of costs, benefits and options.
Absent this check, city leaders have run a political shell game, getting rail approved by lowballing costs and exaggerating benefits, then arguing it’s too far along to stop when their cooked numbers were exposed.
Now, with rail at least five years behind schedule and $5 billion over budget, the Legislature is our last hope of playing honest broker by demanding real costs and a sound recovery plan before throwing more good money after bad….
Caldwell won’t say what he thinks the final cost will be to finish rail to Ala Moana Center; few believe the current $10 billion estimate will hold with 21 stations and the trickiest half of the guideway through urban Honolulu still unbuilt.
The city has offered few plans to contain costs and dismisses without honest analysis potential options such as stopping at Aloha Tower or running the last 5 miles at ground level instead of elevated.
A permanent tax extension is essentially a blank check that would let the city continue its slapdash management with no course correction whatsoever.
The city is trying to stampede legislators based on a supposed Federal Transit Administration threat to cut off the $1.5 billion federal share without new local funding by April 30.
But it’s unclear where FTA stands under the Trump administration, and it has so far declined requests to brief the Legislature and public, who must get agency views secondhand through self-interested city officials.
read … Legislature is last hope of digging up true rail cost
Caldwell Plan: Raise Taxes and Add Another Layer of Government
SA: the city Department of Land Management…seems designed more for efficient delivery of larger government rather than housing. At least this part of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s budgetary blueprint — including 20 positions for the new agency — must be scaled back.
The proposal was part of the $2.45 billion operating budget Caldwell announced Thursday, including new “revenue enhancers” tapping Oahu residents. These would include a new monthly fee of $10 for trash pickup, as well as increases to bus fares and in selected property tax categories for the next fiscal year….
>> Property taxes would go up by 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for Residential A properties. These are homes valued at more than $1 million that do not have owner-occupant exemptions. An additional $6 million could be raised here in the next fiscal year.
>> Taxes would rise by 50 cents for every $1,000 for hotel and resort properties, due to bring in $6 million more.
>> Bus-fare hikes of 25 cents for single-ride fares yearly over four years and $5 increases for each senior annual passes arguably are the most defensible in that fares have not gone up across the board since 2010 and the senior pass price is still eminently reasonable. Further, mandates attached to a federal transit subsidy require fare-box collections to cover certain proportions of total costs.
In fact, all the increases could be supported were it not for one fact: The Caldwell administration is not making a decent effort to contain costs at the same time….
This actually was not the first time his administration tried to pull together staffing for this mission. Two years ago the City Council declined to fund Caldwell’s request for eight positions in a planned Asset Development and Management Division.
Now Caldwell is pushing a 20-person budget request, seemingly emboldened by the passage of the charter amendment.
In an op-ed published before the election, Managing Director Roy Amemiya said projects can involve up to four departments. Bureaucracy and duplication are the consequences.
It appears that stocking up on new hires, with all the attendant salary and benefit costs, would simply add a new layer to that mess. Reorganizing city government to achieve peak efficiency should be the plan….
Caldwell … cited the increasing outlay for salaries and retirement. Where’s the sense in bemoaning such things in a plan that increases them further by padding the employee rolls excessively?
read … Rein in costs before raising city taxes
Voices of working folk have grown eerily quiet
Cataluna: The people who set alarm clocks, who wear comfortable shoes so they can get through the day on weary feet, who still write checks at the grocery store because it’s how they keep track of what they have — they’re scared. They’re scared that the house they worked so hard to purchase will prove too difficult for their kids to keep up. Or they’re afraid that they’ll never come close to saving for a down payment for even a tiny apartment if the car keeps breaking down or if they get too sick to work or if the cost of food, parking, a bus pass, garbage pickup and all the basic requirements of life keep going up. They’re scared that even a simple life in Hawaii is more than they can afford and that it’s only going to get harder.
And they’re mad. They’re mad at the homeless people who don’t seem to want to help themselves no matter how much of a chance they’re given. They’re mad at the rich people who don’t seem to have to worry about sharing. They’re mad because so much of what Hawaii needs seems to come out of their portion. They’re mad at the neighbors who have listed a room on Airbnb instead of creating an affordable rental for an old aunty or community-college kid or someone else who needs a break.
So many “solutions” coming out of local government, both city and state, are to get the middle class to foot the bill for every bill that needs footing. It wasn’t long ago that talk of raising taxes was about the worst thing a politician could do to his or her political future. Not anymore. The ridiculous term “revenue enhancers” doesn’t hide the fact that raising taxes, extending taxes, and establishing new fees will impact the people who work more than 40 hours a week not to “get ahead” but simply to stay afloat.
So much of modern Hawaii was built by their hands, from their vision, with their taxes, but where is the power they should have with that huge, generational investment?
Where is their lobbyist? Where is the tough, no-nonsense voice of the people who are sick and tired of having to pay for their little corner of Hawaii and for everyone else’s, too? Does that voice haunt the dreams of lawmakers? It should.
read … Voices of working folk have grown eerily quiet
SB501: Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion
SA: Senate Bill 501 would require the clinics to notify women of where they can obtain health insurance, if needed, that will cover free or low-cost abortions, prenatal care and contraception.
Clinics that don’t provide women with the information can be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
The bill, similar to a law recently adopted in California, is a priority of the Women’s Legislative Caucus this year and has passed three Senate committees. The measure still needs to cross over to the House for further approvals….
(Rest of the article consists of unverifiable stories by abortion mongers)
Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor has warned lawmakers that its national affiliate, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, would likely sue the state if the bill is enacted into law. The church notes that similar laws in New York City; Austin, Texas; and Montgomery County, Md., have failed to be upheld by the courts.
read … Regulation of pregnancy clinics sought
HB1501: Got a Meth Pipe? No Biggie
Possession of drug paraphernalia ranging from a methamphetamine pipe or needles to a plastic bag coated with drug residue is now punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
House Bill 1501, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, would dramatically reduce those penalties to a maximum fine of $100 with no possible jail time….
“The problem with that is it leads to prison overcrowding,” she said. “Whenever the homeless are incarcerated, it’s usually drug paraphernalia.”
However, Chin said the proposed change in penalties for paraphernalia probably won’t do much to reduce the prison population.
A felony paraphernalia charge is rarely — if ever — filed by itself, Chin said in written testimony. The paraphernalia charge is more commonly filed in addition to another drug felony such as third-degree possession of a dangerous drug, which is also punishable by up to five years in prison.
read … Soft on Crime
Beach Clean up: Activists Looking for Styrofoam Find Needles, Meth Pipes
WHT: …For Lindo, the issues uncovered by the cleanup extend beyond rubbish on the island. Last year, he said, he found drug paraphernalia, hypodermic needles and smoking pipes.
“It’s a multi-layered problem,” he said. “By making as much people as you can aware of it, you can help to tackle this thing.”
It’s not just raising awareness of trash, but also other societal issues.
“You see it here first-hand,” he said. “You see picking up hypodermic needles. That’s not something I expected when I came here last year.”
read … Homeless Camps
SB1109 Fake Chemical Scare: Styrofoam Ban Stalled
SA: Senate Bill 1109 would ban food vendors statewide from handing out expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam containers, starting in January 2020. A few exceptions: cash-strapped vendors could seek a limited waiver, and businesses with access to polystyrene recycling could be exempt. While the bill has prompted several hundred residents and organizations to weigh in on the issue, on Friday its progress appeared to be stalled….
read … Fake Chemical Scare
Lead Poisoning: Real Chemical Scare Gets Scant Attention from DoH, Legislature
SA: On some islands, lead levels have spiked as high as two to three times the rate for children in Flint, Mich., at the height of that city’s lead crisis that sparked community outrage.
The Health Department data, based on lab results of children under 3, also indicates that roughly two-thirds of young children in Hawaii aren’t being screened for lead, even though children on Medicaid are supposed to be tested at about 1 and 2 years of age, a requirement that some say should be expanded for all young children….
For years, Hawaii has lacked statistics on childhood lead exposure rates. The Health Department lost federal funding for its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in 2003 and largely discontinued data collection, education and prevention efforts.
But heightened media attention on the issue of lead exposure following the Flint water crisis prompted health officials to refocus attention on the issue, including spending months reviewing lab reports for thousands of children that it received between 2011 and 2015.
Overall, about 3 percent of young children who were screened in Hawaii between those years tested positive for elevated lead levels, according to the data.
That rate is slightly higher than the national average of 2.5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But more troubling is that the data shows rates on some islands that are significantly higher than the 5 percent exposure rate found in children screened in Flint after the city’s community water supply became contaminated with lead.
Rates on Kauai, for example, have at times been double or nearly triple that, suggesting that specific geographic data is more important in pinpointing problems than statewide averages.
In 2011, 12 percent of children on Kauai tested positive for elevated lead levels. The following year, that rate jumped to nearly 14 percent.
Dr. Nadine Tenn Salle, a Honolulu pediatrician, said that such high numbers suggested there should be islandwide testing for lead exposure in children.
“If I take your data from Kauai at face value, then the entire island is at risk, not the individual families,” she said.
The data is erratic, however. In subsequent years, the rates on Kauai fell to about 2 percent or below….
Belatti said there was a chance that funding for lead prevention could be inserted into the department’s budget, which is being debated by the Legislature, but she suggested that it was up to the Health Department to advocate for it. (The DoH is too busy answering nonsensical questions from hysterics crying about pesticides.)
read … Lead Poisoning
SB1240/HB1457: Anti-Aquarium Bills to be Voted
AP: Responding (Pandering) to (hysterical) environmentalists and tourism workers (hyped-up dive-tour operators) who say (claim) there has been a decline in colorful fish swimming in Hawaii's reefs, a House bill seeks a temporary moratorium on issuing permits to fish for wildlife in the nearshore reefs until the state comes up with a preservation plan….
read … Anti-Aquarium Hysteria