Senate WAM Budget -- $386M More Spending than House
OHA seeks input on upcoming budget (for three days)
OHA issues two more business loans
Micronesian students head to International Robotics Competition
UHERO: Electric Car Batteries Part of Plan to Go 100% Renewable
As Expected, EPA Rejects Anti-Pesticide Activists’ Petition to Ban Chlorpyrifos
Legislature: Two Gangs Compete to Steal millions in GEMS money
KITV: "Thus far we've approved about $14 million in loans, so there is $132 million available in the fund," said Gwen Yamamoto Lau, the Executive Director of the State's Green Infrastructure Authority.
Lawmakers are advancing two bills that would tap into GEMS money, so more people (cronies) can tap into clean energy (your money).
One would streamline the approval process for programs approved for GEMS funding.
"Deploy that money. Get it into the hands of residents (my campaign contributors) for hot water heaters, PV or batteries -- anything that can lower electric bills (serve as an excuse)," said Lee….
(Translation: We will give millions to Elon Musk and his minions via the Tesla Battery scheme.)
Last year, Governor David Ige wanted to use $100 million of GEMS funds to install energy-efficiency measures and air conditioning units in public school classrooms. Lawmakers would like to do something similar.
"A separate bill would authorize deployment of money to help out schools to lower electricity costs. The more money saved would mean more money that could be spent in the classroom," said Lee.
(Translation: We will raid the GEMS money to pay for Ige’s failed ‘Cool Schools’ debacle.)
read … Lawmakers want to tap into millions of GEMS money
Energy Green: Plan to Use Trump to Get More State Tax Credits
PBN: …Colin Yost, partner with Honolulu-based solar company RevoluSun, previously told Pacific Business News that “we shouldn’t sugarcoat the looming disaster,” (Translation: This is going to be our sales pitch for more state tax credits.) noting that the Trump administration’s preferred energy policies, which favor the oil and gas industry, would likely cause more harm to the environment and human health than any government in history (so give us more money).
He does say, however, that the renewable energy industry will keep moving ahead, being driven primarily by heavy consumer demand (political influence).
“With federal tax credits in place (until they aren’t) for utility-scale solar projects and strong policy support from the state, I see nothing but opportunity ahead for us in achieving our strategic goals for the foreseeable future,” David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC, told PBN….
read … Trump's energy plan reversal spells trouble in Hawaii
We Long Ago Stopped Trusting Anything About Honolulu Rail
CB: …rail has reinforced an understandably entrenched pincushion of citizen cynicism. And that has bad (good) consequences.
The woeful, bungling effort of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has increased the public’s cynicism about government. This reinforces an already strong belief that when it comes to taking on any big government project, Hawaii is a can’t-do, doesn’t-know-its-okole-from-its-elbow state…. (In other words, the public is become more aware of reality and less amenable to the next big-project sales pitch.)
Hawaii government is well along in its to-know-it-is-to-hate-it reputation. Rail makes and will continue to make this skepticism far worse.
Public trust is especially important in big public projects like rail. Without it, things that should be routine, technical and fixable instead become contested — always back to square one….
The level of distrust alone does not affect the likelihood of voting, but add a sense of civic duty to this mix and something interesting happens. Turnout increases….
Here are two upcoming big projects offering trust tests: a new Oahu prison and the construction of a replacement for Aloha Stadium. Both are complicated and controversial.
Rail is a graphic model of how not to carry out those projects. The trouble is that right now there is no time-tested, trust-inducing blueprint in Hawaii for how to do them right….
read … We Long Ago Stopped Trusting Anything About Honolulu Rail
Blue Planet: Hike GE Tax and Make Traffic Even More Jammed
CB: the Legislature should approve an extension of the GET surcharge. However, to ensure that Honolulu taxpayers truly get the most value for their money, the Legislature should demand a more transformative vision from the city for how it will maximize rail ridership.
There seems to be a common misperception that once the rail system is built, ridership is going to be what it’s going to be, and there isn’t much that can be done to affect it. In reality, the city and state have many tools at their disposal that could significantly increase rail ridership and the associated benefits. These tools include land use policies, parking policies, improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities, encouraging and facilitating car-sharing and bike-share alternatives, creating commuter benefit programs, and even implementing congestion pricing….
read … Blue Planet Agenda
12% Raises for Maui County Execs?
MN: The Maui County Council may choose not to fund 12 percent pay raises for Mayor Alan Arakawa, his department heads and deputies.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, all eight council members present expressed unease about the pay hike approved in December by the Maui County Salary Commission.
(The that unease is meaningless posturing because….)the charter does not require the council to fund the pay raises, specifically. (Instead, departments could pay for them from their own budgets.)
read … Its Party Time in Government
Thomas Gorak Nominated as PUC Commissioner
IM: Governor David Ige filed GM703 yesterday, nominating Thomas Christopher Gorak to the Public Utilities Commission, for a term to expire at the end of June, 2022.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health (CPH) will hold a public hearing on the nomination, and then make a recommendation to the full Senate…..
During the Neil Abercrombie administration, Hermina “Mina” Morita hired Gorak as Chief Counsel to the Public Utilities Commission.
On July 1, 2016, Mr. Gorak was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission of Hawaii on an interim basis. Morita challenged the interim appointment….
read … Thomas Gorak Nominated as PUC Commissioner
HCDA proposes changes to affordable housing rules
KITV: HCDA wants to lower the affordable housing income bracket by 20%. The current requirement is capped at $123,050 for a family of four.
801 South Street is a two tower development that's considered work force housing.
In this case, developers are required to make 75% of it's units affordable in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks for developers.
HCDA is proposing to tack on a buy back option to deter people from reselling units for a higher profit.
read … HCDA proposes changes to affordable housing rules
Push for DHHL Rental Housing Part of a Robin Danner Money Scheme
CB: …Last year, the (Danner-Kauhane controlled) Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly — which works closely with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement— established the Homestead Housing Authority, a nonprofit to develop affordable housing and rentals. (A conduit to shake down DHHL money for themselves.)
Their effort comes as a huge unused pot of federal funds at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (the usual incompetence) is fueling a long-running debate over whether the agency should be doing more to house Native Hawaiians, even if that means providing rental units rather than fee-simple homes. (Translation: Danner and Kauhane have invented this rental housing scheme out of thin air in hopes of scoring some bux for themselves via the so-called Homestead Housing Authority.)
More than $38 million intended for homestead housing has piled up in DHHL accounts even though thousands of people have been on the waiting list for so long that some of them have died waiting for a home….
DHHL Director Jobie Masagatani says the agency has already encumbered $20 million of the $38 million, and wants to use the remaining $18 million to underwrite mortgages, but is running into procurement issues and other hurdles.
She presented data showing that the department spent more than $14 million in 2014 and $11 million in 2015. That’s more grant money than the department ever spent previously in a single year. The balance has fallen from $65 million in 2014, when Ige was elected….She is concerned about the idea of losing federal funding if it were to go to the Homestead Housing Authority instead.
Hilarious: Full Text: Robin Danner Evicts Jade Danner from Hawaiian Homelands
read … Danner Money
HB83: Lets Build a Gigantic Festering Tent City for Tweekers at Waianae Boat Harbor
HNN: Tucked in the brush just off Farrington Highway near the Waianae Boat Harbor is a 19-acre village made of tents, tarps and pallets (and meth).
The homeless tweekers’ village has been around for years, but recently, lawmakers have been toying with the idea of making the area a homeless safe zone….
Resident Twinkle Borge is just fine with that. She helps to oversee the camp, and sees it as a potential model.
"I've been here since 2003 in October, when there was only seven of us," she said. (13.5 years refusing shelter)
Today, there are about 140 people living there, she said. (See how this works?)
The average stay: Between two and five years. (They refuse shelter and keep using meth.)
But before anyone moves in they go through a background check -- one she pays for. (IQ Test: Do you believe this?)
critics argue camps like this one keep people from getting help quickly.
"Oftentime safe zones are being operated by people who don't necessarily have the clinical, medical or social service expertise to really deliver and serve their population. It really becomes a place for people to congregate and continue using and continue their homeless lifestyle," said Kimo Carvalho, spokesman for the Institute for Human Services, which operates homeless shelters and programs.
Carvalho said sanitation and safety are also major issues.
"There are health issues such as staphylococcus and Hepatitis C. If the state wants to move forward with a legal safe zone the Waianae Boat Harbor is definitely not something to replicate across the state," said Carvalho.
Lawmakers are expected to decide Thursday whether or not to move forward with the study.
read … Lawmakers ask: Is it time to take another look at homeless safe zones?
Prosecutor's office confirms wife of former police chief demoted amid federal probe
HNN: Katherine Kealoha is no longer the third highest ranking city prosecutor in Honolulu.
Emails obtained by Hawaii News Now show that the wife of former Police Chief Louis Kealoha was demoted from division director of the Career Criminal Unit at the city Prosecutor's Office to team captain, one step below her previous position.
She will be supervising fewer people and have a smaller role in decision making.
The change is effective Wednesday and comes one month after her husband was forced to retire as police chief.
Both are targets of an FBI public corruption investigation.
While the demotion lowers Kealoha's status at the prosecutor's office, it does not affect her salary.
read … Prosecutor's office confirms wife of former police chief demoted amid federal probe
Soft on Crime: Should Scizo Killer be Let Back out onto Streets?
KITV: Adam Mau-Goffredo was in court Wednesday for a fitness hearing -- to decide whether or not he is fit to stand trial. Police say Mau is behind the execution-style killings. Mau allegedly shot and killed Manh Nguyen and Jason and Colleen Takamori at Tantalus Lookout on July 6, 2006. He has spent the past decade in a mental hospital for paranoid schizophrenia -- but prosecutors want Mau to stand trial for 18 charges, including three counts of murder. Mau's defense team wants the charges dismissed.
read … Soft on Crime
Maui Liquor Comm Violates Sunshine Law to lift Cap on Number of Hostess Bars
MN: …A Sunshine Law complaint has been filed against the Maui County Liquor Control Commission for allegedly providing insufficient notice to the public about recent rule changes that include eliminating dry hours for liquor sales at retail stores countywide.
The complaint filed Sunday by Kihei resident Madge Schaefer requests that the state Office of Information Practices investigate whether the commission violated the Sunshine Law in its published agenda for its Feb. 8 meeting, at which the commission approved new rules allowing liquor licensees, such as supermarkets and liquor stores, to sell alcohol past the former 11 p.m. deadline.
“These new rules constitute major, sweeping changes and do not in any way fall under the description of ‘housekeeping,’ ” she said Wednesday. “It sweeps the item under the rug. It is a classic example of circumventing the very essence of the open meeting laws. These new rules go against community values and fly in the face of common sense.”
The rules were adopted during the commission’s Feb. 8 meeting and signed into law by Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa on Feb. 21. Minor amendments to the new rules were adopted at a March 8 hearing.
Under the Sunshine Law, agencies must describe the changes in rules or laws in sufficient detail on the meeting agenda. The amendments, if extensive, can be attached and referred to on the agenda.
The liquor commission agenda for the Feb. 8 meeting on the rule changes simply says: “Proposed amendments to the Rules of the Liquor Commission, County of Maui, relating to Title 08, Chapter 101, Rules Governing the Manufacture, and Sale of Intoxicating Liquor of the County of Maui.”
No details of the changes were provided and the proposed rules were not attached to the agenda.
Wailuku resident Mahina Martin said Wednesday a clear opportunity to weigh-in on the rule changes is necessary because the community will be directly affected by risks from more readily available alcohol. She also opposed a rule change that removed the cap on hostess bars in the county, which had been 12 establishments….
read … Maui Liquor Comm lifts Cap on Number of Hostess Bars
More Anti-Dairy Activism on Big Island
HTH: Ookala residents concerned about pollution from the large dairy farm mauka of the village have gotten the attention of the state Department of Agriculture.
Scott Enright, who leads the department and lives part time in the community, told about 40 residents during a meeting Tuesday evening he will dip into his contingency funds to support whatever follow-up inspections or soil and water tests are needed.
“I do advocate for growing the dairies,” he said. “The first thing you need to care about is health and safety of the people.”
Enright said his department, which leases land to Big Island Dairy, would serve as a supporting role to the state Department of Health.
Deputy Health Director Keith Kawaoka said additional water sampling might be done. A recent sample found high levels of bacteria in a stream on a resident’s property downstream of the dairy.
Residents’ concerns include reports of mucky water that smells like manure flowing in nearby gulches and last year’s flood that sent torrents of water from the dairy into the community, with some blaming it for health problems.
Hawaii County Council Chairwoman Valerie Poindexter, who lives in Ookala and has spearheaded the effort to get the state more involved….
read … Spreading
After 8-Year Hiatus, Protesters back at Pohakuloa
HNN: A Republican is back in the White House so the protesters are back at Pohakuloa. They’ll be back at Barking Sands, too.
The eight years of silence from these losers was refreshing….
HTH: PTA: Protesters rally against military exercises
read … Partisan Phonies