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Thursday, July 13, 2017
July 13, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:08 PM :: 1037 Views

Mandatory Abortion: As Predicted SB501 Leads to Lawsuit

Honolulu 6th-Worst City to Drive in

Road Funding: Nobody Pays More Than Hawaii Drivers

Hawaii Will Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Advertise Free Abortions

US Missile Defense System Achieves Successful Intercept Amid Rising Tensions With North Korea

US: Only Supreme Court can relax immigration limits

Hawaii Energy Costs--Low Usage vs High Rates

Ige Launches 'Multi-Department Opioid Abuse Initiative'

Invasive Species Inspectors Communicate 'Caveman Style' After (another) State IT Project Failure

UH Prof Lists Surviving ‘Internalized Misogyny’ On Resume

Council approves millions in rail construction bonds – But Caldwell Claims it Still Isn’t Enough

HNN: ….The rail project (allegedly) still faces a shortfall of about $2 billion, and (the usual insiders claim) Wednesday's bond issue will only be enough to cover the project's short-term cash flow problems. The money will be used to pay for construction on the Middle Street corridor that's already under contract (yeah, sure)….

read … Caldwell Still Pushing Tax Hike

Rail 34 Times More Expensive Than H-3

SA: Oahu’s H-3 freeway endured political controversy and major engineering challenges, such as the boring of two miles of tunnels through solid rock of the Koolau mountains and erecting 160-foot columns for the windward viaduct. Even so, the rail’s construction cost is exorbitant compared with the H-3’s — and that cost to local taxpayers, as explained below, shows how poor the rail choice was and how irrational it would be to continue.

If Mayor Kirk Caldwell is to be believed, the 20-mile elevated rail system will cost $10 billion from Kualakai Parkway to Ala Moana Center, minus $1.55 billion (hopefully) covered by the Federal Transit Administration; and about 15 percent paid by Oahu’s unsuspecting tourists. The rail guideway could instead be used to run buses, providing one traffic lane per direction for a total of two lanes. So its cost to the local taxpayer is $180 million per lane-mile.

The H-3 has two lanes per direction, four lanes total. Because the federal government provided 90 percent of its funding, the cost to local taxpayers was only $5 million per lane-mile, after being adjusted to 2017 using the Price Trends for Federal-Aid Highway Construction Index. Therefore, the lane-mile cost of rail to local taxpayers will be 34 times greater than the cost of the H-3.….

read … HART Rail: Local Cost 34 Times More than H-3

AG rejects charges against anti-Cayetano PAC

SA: …The Hawaii Attorney General’s Office has declined to pursue criminal charges against the Pacific Resource Partnership Political Action Committee or its chairman for allegedly failing to report some of its campaign expenditures made during the vicious 2012 campaign for Honolulu mayor.

That decision by the state’s top law enforcement official comes more than two years after the state Campaign Spending Commission referred the case to the attorney general for possible prosecution based on allegations by former Gov. Ben Cayetano.

PRP PAC spent more than $3.7 million in 2012 in an effort to defeat Caye­tano. Kirk Caldwell won the election.  The Honolulu rail project was the focus of that campaign….

Cayetano alleged in his complaint that PRP and its chairman and treasurer, John White Jr., failed to report $363,477 that the political action committee spent that year on consultants who helped with the campaign. Campaign spending officials voted on Nov. 19, 2014, to refer that case to the attorney general for possible prosecution.

In a two-page letter to the commission dated Tuesday, First Deputy Attorney General Russell A. Suzuki said any criminal prosecution in connection with Cayetano’s allegations is “legally precluded due to a procedural defect” that occurred before the case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office.

The attorney general’s letter also informed the commission there was “insufficient evidence” to prove a criminal violation in a separate complaint against PRP and White for failing to report $86,182 that PRP spent on mailers in support of City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga in 2012…..

McCorriston said the “procedural defect” in the case was that Campaign Spending Commission staff imposed an administrative fine of $1,250 on PRP and White for filing the incorrect reports before Caye­tano filed his complaint on Aug. 29, 2014. (‘Mistakes’ like this are part of a strategy to create excuses for inaction.)

PRP paid the fine and filed corrected reports, but Cayetano then urged the commission to instead pursue a criminal case. The commission reversed itself on Nov. 19, 2014, rescinded the fine and referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for possible criminal prosecution…..

read … Impunity

Honolulu Ethics Comm. Quiet After Being Destroyed by The Caldwell

CB: …Yamane must work to rebuild an ethics commission that lost its bite in recent years due to internal strife and outside interference from Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration.

It’s a challenge, but one that Yamane says she’s poised to take on.

The commission has been relatively quiet since Yamane was hired in August to replace Chuck Totto, who had been the agency’s executive director and lead attorney for nearly 16 years.

The commission has only issued two ethics opinions in Yamane’s time with the agency, neither of which were particularly revelatory. And there have been no public clashes with the Caldwell administration.

Under Totto, the commission issued a number of high-profile opinions that slapped city council members with record fines and helped clarify the business dealings of Caldwell.

But Totto’s approach also drew the ire of some powerful people, including former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a city prosecutor. The Kealohas, who are under federal investigation for public corruption and abuse of power, sued the ethics commission and its former staffers for poking around in their business.

But it was Totto’s well-documented fights with Caldwell and his top staffers that caused the most problems, so much so that it became a major campaign theme during the 2016 race for mayor….

read … Caldwell Wins

Caldwell Schemes to Jam up Traffic in Kalihi, Iwilei

SA: … Government and private sector representatives put their heads together over cafeteria tables on Wednesday to talk about ways to make Iwilei and Kapalama safer for cyclists and pedestrians….

read … Group brainstorming an eco-friendly Kalihi

15-Cent Per Bag Tax

KITV: …Island Plastic Bags is a family business in the Halawa Valley that just celebrated its 25th anniversary. They've been engaged in the conversation about the plastic bag ban over the last five years, and support a "pay for use" policy over an outright ban.

"My frustration is that we've gone through this process before," said Adrian Hong, President of Island Plastic Bags.

Hong's parents started the company and passed it on to him. Island Plastic Bags manufactures mostly trash liners, but 10% of its business comes from supplying 2.25 mil and compostable plastic bags.

"We'll be losing some of those customers if the ban goes into effect," said Hong.

The latest version of Honolulu's plastic bag ban would require businesses to charge a 15-cent fee for each plastic or paper bag..

"I think 15-cents is right on the spot where it's going to make everybody think twice about and to remind them to bring their reusable bags," said Stuart Coleman, Hawaii Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation.   

The bill would also phase out all single use plastic bags by 2020, including 2.25 mil bags, often marketed as reusable….

SA:  Mayor says he is inclined to sign plastic bill ban

read … Bag Tax

Historic Home Tax to Jump to $1000?

CB: Owners of historic homes on Oahu (mostly political insiders in Manoa) would see their property taxes increase to $1,000 under a measure that cleared another hurdle at the City Council Wednesday.

Chair Ron Menor was absent for the vote and only Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, whose district contains many historic homes in Manoa, voted against the bill.

Written testimony on Bill 52 — mostly authored by owners of historic homes — has been overwhelmingly against the tax. Homeowners argue low property taxes help them afford the cost of maintaining a historic home….

Most historic homeowners currently pay about $300 annually in real property taxes. Under the bill, other properties that receive exemptions, like properties owned by nonprofits, would continue to pay $300 annually….

Low-income residents can receive a property tax credit if they show the city they earn no more than $60,000 annually and own no other real property, he said. Anderson’s office is looking into adding another provision to the bill that would require historic homeowners to itemize their home upkeep expenses every year, he said.

“Being that the average real property tax bill in Honolulu is $3,000, I feel that a $1,000 fee for participating in the program is more than fair,” he said.

Many who submitted testimony complained that historic homes were singled out.

In 2010 the Star-Advertiser reported that although historic homeowners receive property tax exemptions, not all of them comply with the requirements. Though historic homes must be visible to the public, the article found that many were obscured and did not open their properties to the public for the required 12 days out of the year….

read … $1000

Hawaii Supreme Court Heard Oral Argument on Hawaiian Homelands Funding

BIN: Multiple parties presented oral argument to the Hawai‘i Supreme Court on July 7, 2017, regarding the obligations of the state under the Hawai‘i Constitution to provide funds to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).

On June 30, 2016, the executive branch appealed a circuit court’s decision in Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission that ordered the state to appropriate more than $28 million to DHHL for the 2015-16 fiscal year on the grounds that it violated the separation of powers.

“The circuit court decision raised serious concerns regarding the separation of powers and whose job it is to determine DHHL’s administration and operating budget pursuant to the State Constitution,” Attorney General Chin said. “It is the exclusive role of the Legislature to appropriate funds. The role of the courts is to interpret the law and determine when it has been violated, not to decide on budgets. The justices today were well briefed on both sides of the issue and asked good questions.” ….

read … Argument

Kauai Council Approves Massive Pay Hikes for HGEA

KGI: …Unit 2 represents supervisory employees in blue-collar positions and has 730 members, according to the HGEA website.

Employees in that category will receive a 2 percent increase across the board, according to Bill No. 2656.

They will see that reflected in their July 31 paycheck, according to county officials.

Also, effective Jan. 1, 2018, workers in Unit 2 will receive a 1.2 percent across the board increase and a 2.25 percent increase in January. In 2019, they will see another 1.2 percent increase.

Unit 13, which has 7,190 members, represents professional and scientific employees.

On July 31, those employees will get a 2 percent increase across the board.

On July 1, 2018, they will receive a 2.25 percent across the board…..

read … County, HGEA reach agreement

BioFool Project Will Soak Helco Ratepayers

HTH: …With HEP, a fossil fuel plant, still running through 2045, the bioenergy facility near Pepeekeo would on average add $2.43 to bills, according to HELCO’s revised figures…..

Under the deal, Hu Honua’s “all-in costs” would be 22.1 cents per kilowatt-hour (wholesale rate nearly double the average mainland Retail rate).

read … BioFooled Again?

Homeless Drug Addicts Trash H-1 Freeway

KHON: …“It’s not only embarrassing, it’s probably dangerous,” said Sen. Will Espero. “Both the tourists and local people are seeing it. Tens of thousands are seeing it every day.”

If you drive on the H-1, you may have seen tents set up along the freeway. Garbage spills down the hill and onto the freeway near the Nuuanu Avenue overpass.

KHON2 spoke to some of the people who live there. One woman says she’s been living there with her boyfriend for about four months….

“I just thank God at least there are people willing to remove themselves from homeless. There are some content to stay there. Those the ones I just pray for.”

Outreach providers often visit the tents along the freeway, urging them to consider housing….

SA: Governor makes it easier to get drug paraphernalia

HNN: Man arrested for allegedly running over wife's boyfriend

read … Trash

Homeless Drug Addicts Assault People in Moiliili

Felix said people live in the cars and keep them there around the clock.

"They have pets over there. They usually have plants out. Carpets. It's like it's their living room," he said.

The vehicles take up at least four spaces -- prime parking for restaurant customers. But that's not the main concern.

"We've had musicians who have been threatened and one was physically assaulted over there. We've had other staff members threatened, harassed," he said, adding that he's contacted police and the city numerous times but nothing's changed….

A spokesman for the state's largest homeless service provider said this section of Beretania Street as well as parts of Young Street have been inundated with people living in their cars.

"They feel safe living in those areas because it's legal to park there at night. There aren't any restricted zones. It's not metered," said Kimo Carvalho.

As for any long-term solutions, the city said it would like the neighborhood's input on restricting parking. One option is to limit or prohibit overnight parking while the park is closed. The city is also considering gating the park's restrooms after hours….

SA: 20,000 Overdose kits meant to reduce deaths due to opioids

read … About People who Refuse to Accept Shelter

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