Oahu GOP: No Rail Tax Hike Special Session
Hawaii GOP: Ige Paris Accord Grandstanding will Cost Hawaii Consumers
Message to OHA: ‘Clean up your Act’
The saga of fishing vessel ‘America’s Finest’ continues
Kids Count: Hawaii Ranks 17th in Child Well-being
Big Island Republicans Asleep as Democrats Scramble for Senate Opening
HTH: …With a year to go before candidate qualifying ends for the 2018 election, Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha (Billy Kenoi crony) is ready to make the leap to the state Legislature.
Kanuha, 33, said he’s seriously considering a run for the District 3 state Senate seat that’s almost certain to be vacated by Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat who intends to run for lieutenant governor.
Also giving the office some thought are Rep. Nicole Lowen, a Democrat representing Kona, and Rep. Richard Creagan, a Democrat representing Ka‘u. Kanuha is also a Democrat.
(And the Republicans? Are they doing anything to regain a Senate seat? No.)
Senate District 3, which covers Kona and Ka‘u, runs from Kalaoa to Honuapo. Green, 47, has been in the state Senate since 2008, having served two terms in the state House before that.
He said Friday he’s spoken to the three about the seat, adding, “they would all make good senators.” The advance notice gives the three additional time to build their campaign coffers, which later can be transferred to another race.
“I intend to run for lieutenant governor,” Green said.
Green, who has to give up a safe Senate seat to run, said he will make his final decision and announcement in the fall. He’s already accumulated a war chest nearing $500,000.
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, a Maui Democrat, indicated he’ll likely run for Maui mayor. In addition to Green, almost a half-dozen state legislators, all Democrats, and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, a former Republican who reportedly recently registered as a Democrat, expressed an interest in running….
read … 3 show interest in Green’s seat as senator eyes lieutenant gov bid
Legislative Scandals Repeat Themselves: State grants-in-aid
SA: …the pot of money known as grants-in-aid is a pretty leaky vessel, without the necessary controls. That much is clear from the grants the Legislature approved this session.
Among these was a hefty $605,000 handout to a private Hawaii island company, enabling the purchase of equipment to drill water wells in rural areas that now often rely on rain catchment systems.
The bill authorizing the grant is awaiting a signature from Gov. David Ige; he should firmly reject the gift to Pacific Well Drilling and Pump Services…..
The grant was supported by state Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who … acknowledged that she knows the family of Kihei Ahuna, the business owner who applied for the grant….
State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who oversaw the grant-in-aid process for the Senate, acknowledged that private grants are rare. But they are not unprecedented, he added, citing Navatek Ltd., Navatek Boat Builders and Gilad Productions Ltd. among the previous recipients (who should have been denied).
About a decade ago, the legislative process for awarding grants-in-aid came under fire. State Rep. Michael Magaoay was in charge of deciding which applicants would get money and thus was a magnet for campaign contributions from nonprofits seeking to curry favor.
A more robust review process was created, but plainly there are still loopholes to be closed….
Lawmakers behind the latest fiasco should be embarrassed. Even after a previous scandal nudged them toward reform, they still haven’t cleaned up this shameful business….
(This proves that Legislators DO learn from their experiences. They learn how to dip their beak.)
read … Tighten rules for state grants-in-aid
Skinning the Taxpayers: Mayor and other city officials get pay increases
SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, the nine members of the Honolulu City Council and the city’s appointed employees are getting a 5 percent pay raise starting July 1.
The increases were recommended by the (cronies on the) Honolulu Salary Commission in its final report on April 25. (And that is a handy excuse)
Under the new plan, the mayor will make $173,184 annually, the prosecutor $164,136, the Council chairman $71,520 and the eight other Council members $64,008. The medical examiner, often cited as the most difficult position in the city to fill, will make $288,192, while the police chief will earn $191,184 and the fire chief $185,112. Most other department heads will make $146,808. (Not worth it.)
Council members could have refused part of or the entire commission recommendation but chose not to do so. As a result, the raises are part of fiscal 2018’s $2.45 billion operating budget, which was approved last week.
In recommending the raises in its report, the commission said “inversion” continues to be an issue at several city agencies. Inversion occurs when the salaries for the highest-paid “exempt management” employees are higher than those of the department and deputy department heads. (Translation: When we give money to HGEA, we are also giving money to ourselves.)
read … Mayor and other city officials get pay increases
Tax and Spend: Hawaii County Budget $36M Bloat
HTH: Mayor Harry Kim signed a $490.8 million budget Friday, a 6 percent increase compared with the current fiscal year.
The spending plan, approved by the Hawaii County Council, increases tax rates for all property classes except homeowners and affordable rentals.
Approximately another $36 million is expected to be raised from higher taxes and property valuations in the next budget.
The county administration said it faces higher expenses because of increases in employee wages and retirement contributions. On the revenue side, the county lost $2 million from its share of the state’s transient accommodations tax revenue.
Council members cut about $400,000 from the proposed budget….
read … An article Hilariously titled “standard rule is watch our costs”
Enviros Push $760M Carbon Tax on Hawaii
SA: A $40 carbon tax levied on Hawaii’s 19 million tons of annual carbon emissions would yield $760 million a year — an amount roughly equal to about 1 percent of Hawaii’s economy. ($542 per person, $2170 per family of four—don’t worry, you can afford it because it will make you feel greener)
That money could be returned to taxpayers (LOLROTF!) through an annual rebate check (then why take it in the first place?). Or it could be used to lower other state taxes, (pay for more HGEA ‘positions’) pay down (or as a justification to run up) Hawaii’s burgeoning debt or fund the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s rail project….
read … To Pay for Rail
SB1240: Government Prepares to Kill Off More Small Businesses
CB: Commercial aquarium fish collection may no longer be a viable career in Hawaii unless Gov. David Ige can be convinced to take out his veto pen in the next two weeks.
Senate Bill 1240, which the Legislature passed by a wide margin in early May, prohibits the Department of Land and Natural Resources from issuing new aquarium fish permits as soon as it becomes law.
The bill grandfathers in the existing permit holders and lets them transfer their permits until 2022. It also requires the department to submit a report about the sustainability of collecting nearshore aquatic life….
The 25-member Senate unanimously approved the bill and the 51-member House passed it with 14 voting against it.
“It’s a minor miracle that this bill passed,” said (anti-GMO whack job) Jessica Wooley, former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control….
read … Phony Environmentalism
The problem with the Ninth Circuit’s decision striking down Trump’s Travel ban
TP: …the ideal result in the Muslim ban cases is a decision that ends Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban, while still giving future presidents the flexibility they need to act in the best interests of the nation.
Most of the court decisions ruling against Trump’s ban have threaded this difficult needle…..
On Monday, the Ninth Circuit went a different route….
read … Think Progress
Rat Lungworm, the Tropical Parasite that took Hawaii by Surprise
NY: Rat lungworm has likely been present in Hawaii for hundreds of years, perhaps brought by rodents that stowed away aboard Polynesian ships. What, then, accounts for the apparent uptick in infections? All signs point to a newcomer to the archipelago—Parmarion martensi, a Southeast Asian semislug, so called because it sports a tiny shell too small to actually live inside. The animal can carry at least twice as many nematode larvae per milligram as other mollusk species; some researchers theorize that its spongy muscle tissue is especially easy for rat lungworm to penetrate. And P. martensi is scrappy. Robbie Hollingsworth, a research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told me that he once visited a woman whose second-floor balcony was infested with semislugs, which had been drawn there by a stash of papaya. “No other slug species I know of would cross the thirty feet to get up there,” he said. When Hollingsworth puts out food for his cat, he added, the semislugs “find it within minutes. How did they do that? It’s kind of like they were waiting in the wings.”
read … Rat Lungworm
After Diamond Head Sweep, only Seven Bums Accept Shelter
HNN: …Since a homeless sweep in February, few if any homeless have returned to the area, in what appears to be one of the few cases of the state's enforcement in homeless encampments that's actually stuck.
The fact that homeless haven't returned has even surprised outreach workers….
…only seven people who lived on Diamond Head accepted shelter. Rather than moving off the streets, the state believes homeless in the area simply found new places to camp….
Phillips agrees, saying he's encountering more homeless near Makapuu. At this count, at least 50 homeless live in that area, almost double the people counted there the first of the year….
at night, the parking lot is packed with people looking for a place to sleep.
"I know we had a problem with them leaving their trash and not keeping the bathroom clean," she said.
The Institute for Human Services said they have increased outreach in Makapuu and along the Ka Iwi Coast…..
read … Apply More Force
Homeless sweep set for Iwilei along Nimitz Hwy
KITV: Wooden palettes, cracked glass and what looks like a leftover needle cover are some of what you'll find scattered along a stretch of sidewalk in Iwilei.
State Sheriffs will conduct a homeless sweep of the area off Nimitz Highway Tuesday.
A Honolulu Police officer was on hand Monday morning to help clear objects spilling on to the highway. Our KITV crew did not see any occupants in the structures.
Last Friday, the State Department of Transportation posted warnings to homeless ahead of the upcoming sweep. …
the homeless population along Nimitz has grown right before his eyes.
"Before only me on Nimitz, now they all over, they just make rubbish," Vo said.
Tuesday's homeless sweep isn't the only enforcement planned in Iwilei, Honolulu Police will also begin implementing new sit-lie zones. Those zones include Iwilei Road, Sumner, Kuwili and Pine Streets….
read … Homeless sweep set for Iwilei along Nimitz Hwy.
Rape Kit Testing Yields Results
SA: …The 180 recently tested kits involve cases in which the rapist was a stranger, the victim was a minor, a serial offender was suspected or there were multiple suspects involved.
Of the kits, 25 percent resulted in a DNA profile that could be uploaded to the federal database, known as CODIS, according to HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu. The remaining kits either had insufficient DNA or yielded a DNA profile that matched the victim.
Yu would not say how many of the 45 usable DNA profiles resulted in a match with someone in the national offender database….
Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization that advocates for processing untested rape kits, said that on average about half of kits tested result in usable DNA profiles, and about half of those usually result in hits in the federal offender database….
SA: Rape kits website and ad are delayed by months
read … Sexual assault evidence is tied to known criminals
Medical Bills Exceed $1 Million For Woman Accidentally Shot By Cop
CB: Hyun Ju Park was working at a bar when Anson Kimura’s duty weapon discharged, lodging a bullet in her stomach….
read … $1M
Arcadia: Pay a Surcharge and Your Electricity will be Blessed by Gaia
IM: Rooftop renewable energy consists of two components: the electricity and a Renewable Energy Credit (REC)….
the utility gets the homeowners REC regardless….
A company could collect these RECs and sell them on the open market…..
Arcadia Power will collect money from you, use most of it to pay HECO, MECO or HELCO for the energy that you used, and spend the rest buying wind-based renewable energy credits.
They are a B Corporation, which is legally defined in Hawai`i, as a socially conscious corporation, an entity that exists somewhere between a non-profit and a for-profit entity.
Arcadia Power was founded in 2014. Sierra Club has reviewed the Arcadia Power concept and last year the two entities decided to enter into a partnership. The League of Conservation Voters has also entered into a partnership with Arcadia Power….
read … Arcadia Power Selling Renewable Energy Credits in Hawaii
New missile and new radar might gird isles
SA: …At a congressional hearing last week, Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, was asked about the defense of Hawaii and potential use of the new Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IIA — which comes from a line of ship-based missiles — against North Korean threats….
Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a Virginia nonprofit that seeks a strong missile defense, favors activating the Aegis Ashore land-based missile test facility on Kauai in times of emergency to better protect Hawaii. The Pearl Harbor destroyer USS John Paul Jones previously test-launched an SM-3 Block IIA missile off Kauai and is expected to do so again in the near future.
“That (missile) should be one of the systems that we look at to see what’s best for the defense of Hawaii,” Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command on Oahu, said during congressional testimony in April….
NR: Hawaii Responds to North Korean Threat; Others Must Also, States Physicians for Civil Defense
read … Missile Defense