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Tuesday, June 27, 2017
June 27, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:26 PM :: 2002 Views

Universal Basic Income Is A Lazy Solution To The Oncoming Labor Crisis

Drug Money: DoTax to Receive $400K/mo Cash—What Could Go Wrong?

PBN: As Hawaii waits for its first dispensary to open for business, the state Department of Taxation is preparing to accept the industry's taxes in the form of cash. The product's status as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law makes it difficult for medical marijuana dispensaries and testing labs to secure banking.

The complexity of the industry has also impacted the Department of Taxation's existing armored car service.

State Tax Director Maria Zielinski told Pacific Business News that the department had to end its contract with Loomis, a Houston-based security company, and partner with Hawaii-based Pacific Courier, to transfer the cash to the state's account at First Hawaiian Bank.

Zielinski said Loomis was not comfortable transferring the money, due to its ties to the medical marijuana industry. 

(Translation: They found out the the bags of drug money would sit out on HGEA members desks until the ‘workers’ return from vacation.)

“It is going to cost us more money for that,” said Zielinski, on making the switch to a new security company. “There is added risk on their side, added liability.”

(Somebody might steal the money while an HGEA member is distracted by a particularly intense game of solitaire on the computer.)

According to information from the state Procurement Office, the Department of Taxation signed a $113,927.16 contract with Pacific Courier to transfer the cash to the state’s bank account….

(It’ll get stuffed in a desk drawer.  Don’t worry, its a locking desk.)

In addition to hiring a new security company, Zielinski said the department was granted close to $500,000 in capital improvement projects to “harden” the state’s facilities in anticipation of the cash it will receive from the dispensaries….

“The initial projections were $400,000 per month,” she added….

read … Cash

What Does it Take to Transfer one HGEA Member?

SA: State officials are trying to involuntarily transfer the sheriff’s lieutenant overseeing law enforcement at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Attempts to switch Lt. Michael Oakland, who most recently served as the sheriffs’ Airports Patrol Section commander, to the Kapolei Courthouse come amid uncertainty over the deputy sheriffs’ future role at the airport.

“My understanding is they’re checking to see whether it’s legal or possible (to transfer Oakland) just on his position as a union employee,” state Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-­Iroquois Point) said Monday. “I know it’s being questioned or challenged.”…

Oakland has been with the state’s Sheriff Division nearly 18 years, and he also serves as Oahu chairman for Unit 14 in the Hawaii Government Employees Association, representing state law enforcement and ocean safety officers, according to his profile on the career website LinkedIn and the HGEA website….

Some critics, including Espero, have questioned whether the state Department of Transportation aims to end the deputy sheriffs’ airport presence as payback for a lawsuit filed by the sheriffs union to block the state’s new contract with a private airport security firm…..

HGEA and Cops: DLNR Finally Gets Around to Firing Rapist Cop Son of HGEA President

read … Alleged transfer effort targets key deputy at airport

Rep Chris Lee: If you don’t want to talk about putting everybody on Welfare, You Do Not Exist

UBI: …He said the working group will analyze Hawaii’s exposure to automation (Automation is nothing new and neither are robots.  This hype is no different than the talk about flying cars in the 1960s.  Do you have a flying car?  Automation was a big topic in the 1980s.  Are you unemployed because of it?) and the potential for solutions, such as basic income, to address this issue. The working group will also look at the efficacy of Hawaii’s current social services system and whether it is adequate for the challenges of the future.  (It is an HGEA job trust.  It is not adequate to the challenges of the present.)

“It’s safe to say, that if we do nothing…these programs that we are already spending money on are going to go through the roof. To say nothing of unemployment and other changes in the economy that is going to exacerbate income inequality and limit the opportunity for people to work and make a living,” Lee said…. (This is truly mindless scientism.  Because robots are discusses, the dystopian future is predestined.  Amazing how stupid these people are.) 

A potential outcome of the working group is to create a pilot program that is “not necessarily administered by the state,” but is tailored to the local economy, he said.  (Translation: Omidyar is going to give more money away and call it a pilot project.)

Lee said he has not encountered opposition to the proposal….;  (Translation: You do not exist.)

“I think that respect for one’s neighbor, that ‘aloha spirit’ is something that drives our value set so that when we come together and say that everybody should have the right to basic financial security — that’s something I think is meaningful to people. So I think everybody has at least been open to the idea of having this discussion and seeing where it will go,” Lee said.    (Translation: You do not exist.)

read … Interview: Hawaii becomes first state to study full basic income

Ige Admin Claims Healthcare bill could cost Hawaii $200M/yr Medicaid funding

AP: The approval of the U.S. Senate's healthcare plan would force a $2 billion reduction in Hawaii's Medicaid program over the next ten years, according to the state's program administrator….

According to a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday, cuts like those could cause an additional 22 million Americans to become uninsured if the measure were to pass – 15 million of them within the next 18 months.

The resulting impact on Hawaii, according to state Medicaid officials, could be substantial.

"Well, there’s about 350,000 people on Medicaid currently. That’s about one in four residents in our state, so that’s quite significant," said Judy Mohr Peterson, Hawaii's Med-QUEST Division Administrator. "A lot of those adults are piecing together various jobs in order to make a living, but they don’t have access to health insurance. So they rely on Medicaid."

Faced with the prospect of losing billions of dollars, Mohr Peterson says there are only so many ways administrators will be able to make ends meet….

SR: AHCA’s potential Medicaid impact on Hawaii’s hospitals

read … Medicaid

Ige Veto May Save Hawaii From Wasting Millions on New Stadium

SA: …Gov. David Ige’s intention to veto House Bill 627 is already threatening to push things back.

The bill, which would create the Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, was supposed to be part of a bold statement about changing the way the state does some of its business and Aloha Stadium was seen as a showcase example.

The OPPP is supposed to help facilitate a partnership between the state and private developers, who would lease land for commercial purposes, thereby lessening the cost of building the new facility.

“We need to reinvent the way government does capital improvement projects; we cannot have rail 2.0,” state Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi, Salt Lake), a strong proponent, wrote in an email to the Star-Advertiser. “It is essential that the state embrace public-private partnerships. The days of every state project being 100 percent taxpayer-financed are pau.”…

a new stadium of the 30,000- to 35,000-seat range, expandable to 40,000 seats for special events, per a consultant’s recommendation, would cost $324.5 million in 2017 dollars, a study said.

But, clearly, we’re well past that already. We’re looking at 2020 — or beyond — dollars. And each year the state waits, the cost of building a new stadium is estimated to climb $15 million to $20 million.

“With the (OPPP) established we can move forward with redevelopment plans,” Wakai said….

read … Ige’s veto could delay stadium plan even further

Don’t Veto HB1414: Demand Audit of State’s Latest IT Debacle

SA: …the governor just signed into law Senate Bill 850, which requires departments to conduct independent verification and validations (IV&V) of IT projects, like TSM, which the state CIO determines to be sufficiently costly and complex.

Thus far, the CIO’s track record has been solid, implementing a time-saving digital signature process, partnering with the University of Hawaii to relocate backup systems from the state’s aging data center downtown, and successfully leveraging economies of scale to negotiate best-value agreements between the state and software and IT service providers.

Knowing that the CIO’s office, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, will be collaborating with the Department of Taxation, going forward, is reassuring.

The problems identified in the article appear to be primarily related to webforms not being entirely user-friendly and additional security steps required of business filers to verify identity (which is reassuring in this age of cybersecurity). But the heart of the system, the filing and payment component, is said to be working as intended.

Nevertheless, concerns about a range of problems prompted lawmakers to withhold the funds requested by the governor for the project’s future phases and to pass House Bill 1414 requiring an audit of the modernization project…

SA: Ige should reconsider his inclination to veto House Bill 1414, calling for an audit of the Department of Taxation’s tax-system modernization project.

read … Audit IT

SA: Ige Right to Consider Veto of Aquarium Bill

SA: Gov. David Ige has applied this principal correctly in setting up Senate Bill 1240 for a veto, a measure that places limitations that, the governor has correctly concluded, are unwarranted….

These moves are essentially aimed at phasing out the industry through attrition, because as currently permitted aquarium-fish collectors leave the trade, new ones will not be able to enter.

DLNR, the agency tasked to define “sustainable” and thereafter establish take limits on the fishery, opposes the bill, its officials asserting that there is no basis for establishing the limits by a 2019 deadline set in the measure.

DLNR Director Suzanne Case said the department opposes the measure, “as we could not possibly establish catch limits for all reef species by 2019, and likely not for all aquarium fish species by 2019, and there is no biological basis to prohibit the issuance of new aquarium permits.”

A veto would acknowledge the need to justify such a categorical crackdown on an industry. The governor said more studies are needed for that step, and he’s right.

It might even be possible to manage the resource through less draconian means, such as setting a temporary “kapu” boundary prohibiting fishing in an area shown to be environmentally stressed, similar to limited restrictions set for other species in specific zones.

But SB 1240 is not the measure to accomplish that….

read … Aquarium bill needs reworking

Ige Skips Chance to Name WESPAC Board Members

CB: Hawaii will soon have less influence in setting national policies that affect everything from commercial fishing to endangered species in nearly 1.5 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

Gov. David Ige’s administration twice missed deadlines to submit to federal officials a list of names to fill two at-large terms that expire in August on the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

The seats have historically been held by Hawaii residents. Instead, they will be filled from the lists provided by the governors of American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam, the other U.S. territory represented on the council, did not nominate anyone.

Environmentalists see it as a missed opportunity for Ige to rebalance the council, which has long weighed heavier on the side of the commercial fishing industry than conservation. Others view it as a blown chance for Hawaii’s longline tuna fishermen to maintain their grip on the council’s direction….

CH: Papahanaumokuakea Review Spurs Tension With Conservation Groups, Fisheries

read … WESPAC

Anti-GMO Activists Project and deflect

JC: …I guess that’s their way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance described by a New York Times movie reviewer:

With a soft tone, respectful to opponents but insistent on the data, “Food Evolution” posits an inconvenient truth for organic boosters to swallow: In a world desperate for safe, sustainable food, G.M.O.s may well be a force for good….

read … Project and deflect

Union for some Matson workers threatens to strike over labor dispute

AP: ….Matson is facing a strike threat from The Marine Firemen's Union and the Sailors’ Union of The Pacific.

The contract for 135 Matson crew members and engine room workers expires at midnight Friday, and the sides are not anywhere close to resolving their differences; the unions are calling for raises and better job security.

"If they're really going to stick it to us, we're ready to strike,” said Charles Khim, one of the union’s attorney.

Matson says there's still plenty of time to work out a deal…..

read … Union for some Matson workers threatens to strike over labor dispute

Chin: Hawaii Doomed because 6000 Muslims Might not Come Here

SA: “If I were to put myself in the shoes of those people — or, really, anybody outside of the United States who’s watching everything that’s happened — there’s no question that what has happened has created a chilling effect,” Chin told reporters Monday following the Supreme Court’s ruling. “It’s created uncertainty in the United States as far as who’s going to be allowed to come into the country.”…

And that uncertainty could spill over into countries beyond the six listed under Trump’s ban, Chin said.

The Attorney General’s Office argued “that the problem with having these sort of temporary bans is that it makes people who are even not from these countries wonder whether or not it’s going to be OK for them to come into the United States,” Chin said.

While the court’s decision temporarily allows entry to students and others with legitimate U.S. ties, it’ll make it more difficult for tourists from the six countries with no U.S. connections to visit Hawaii and other U.S. destinations, Chin said.

He cited Hawaii tourism data from two years ago in which 6,200 island visitors came from the Middle East and 2,000 more from Africa….

Meanwhile: Senate Democrat Mazie Hirono Compares Supreme Court Justices to 'Horsemen of the Apocalypse'

read … Chin Rambles

Democrats Make Trump More Popular Among Republicans 

CB: “There was not unified support for Trump the candidate, but there is unified support for Trump the president,” said Shirlene DelaCruz Ostrov, the newly elected chairwoman of the Republican Party of Hawaii. “The party has much more unified support, absolutely.”

Ostrov said Republicans have most applauded some of the same things Democrats have criticized, including approving two major gas pipelines, exiting the Trans Pacific Partnership, freezing federal employment and establishing what she called an “America-first energy policy.” The Paris Accord on the climate, she has said, would have created “nightmarish regulations,” and Trump’s repudiation of it was in America’s best interest.

“These things are really appealing to Republicans,” she said.

The views of party leaders were echoed in a series of recent interviews with Republicans around the islands.

“The Republicans think he is doing a great job,” said Christina Cure, 66, a retired widow in Makaha. “The media is portraying it like everyone is unhappy. We’re not.”

If Trump doesn’t succeed, the cause will be Democratic obstructionism, contends Stan James, 70, a retired utility accountant who lives on Maui. “They’ve decided to do everything in their power to keep him from accomplishing anything,” he said.

Some said they have become even more enthusiastic about him than they were on Election Day, when 29 percent of Hawaii voters supported Trump.

A recent Civil Beat poll found that Trump’s statewide approval rating was 32 percent. The poll was conducted May 18-24.

“The more people are against him, it makes me so angry and I want to help him,” said Lynne Hansen of Laie, a retired professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University. “It’s just unbelievable that they can be so negative, not just in Hawaii.”

Bethann Keough, 42, a child development center director who lives in Ewa Beach, said she views him more favorably now than in the past because she thinks he is doing a good job and he is not receiving what she called “a fair shot.”

“I don’t hate him but there’s a lot of haters,” she said. “He’s up against a lot.”

read … Action, Reaction

Attorney John S. Carroll asks to resign to avoid disciplinary action

ILind: …John S. Carroll, a former legislator who has been a familiar figure in Republican politics for decades, has asked to be allowed to surrender his law license in order to avoid potential disbarment.

Carroll, now age 87, was cited in two 2015 complaints pursued by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, which alleged numerous violations of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct. Both cases involved errors made in handling client cases, providing misleading answers to investigators, and violating rules that apply to all lawyers. Following a formal hearing, the hearing officer recommended Carroll be disbarred, documents show.

When the recommendation was then considered by the Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Carroll requested that he be allowed to “resign from the practice of law in lieu of discipline,” on the condition that he be allowed to wrap up his law practice in an orderly fashion.

The board agreed with Carroll’s offer, and set an effective date for his resignation of October 31, 2017. Under the terms of the agreement, he is not allowed to accept new clients or take on any new matters….

PDF: ODC Complaint vs John Carroll

read … Resign

House bill presses for plan to protect Hawaii against North Korea missiles

WE: Military leaders would have to give Congress a plan to protect Hawaii against North Korean missiles before spending additional money for new defensive radar, according to a new bill unveiled in the House this week.

The House Armed Services bill provides $42 million to develop and test discrimination radar for homeland missile defense. But before any contracts are awarded, the U.S. Pacific Command and the Missile Defense Agency would be required to submit to lawmakers "both a certification and a plan concerning the use of existing ballistic defense assets for the defense of Hawaii."

The language is in an early version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is headed to an Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday…..

read … Plan

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