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Saturday, August 12, 2017
August 12, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:03 PM :: 1786 Views

No need for special session this summer

It was 119 years ago today: Hawaii Becomes US Territory

Honolulu Rents Jump Another 6.7%

Youth Homelessness--Hawaii Ranks 5th

Tough On DUI? Hawaii Ranks 26th

DBEDT: Hawaii Economy Slowing

Registration Open for Hawaii LifeSmarts Competition

Rail Fail: Hanabusa Threatens to Run For Governor

CB: …U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Friday she may mount an election challenge to Hawaii Gov. David Ige in 2018.

“I’ve always considered my political future in terms of ‘How do I best serve Hawaii?’” she said when asked if she might be a candidate for governor next year. “So, it is a consideration. I’m not telling you yes or no right now, but it is a major consideration as to whether this is the way I could best serve Hawaii.”

Hanabusa said Ige, a fellow Democrat, has not presented a vision for Hawaii, and suggested that it’s not part of his nature.

“I find that David is a very methodical person,” she said. “He is an electrical engineer by training. I think that the way he views things has always been through those lenses. I would have preferred if David was more of a visionary and had a plan for Hawaii’s future, other than specific types of reactionary situations.”

The congresswoman said that Ige had failed to take advantage of “an amazing opportunity” to propose and implement a plan for the state, given that there are no Republicans in the state Senate and only five in the House of Representatives….

The congresswoman said Friday that HART needs a forensic audit, something she said when she ran the agency.

A major reason for an audit, she said, was that HART did not come into existence until 2011, yet the rail project, its funding and the awarding of two major contracts as well as a number of subcontracts preceded it by several years.

Her point is that the early years of the project have not been adequately scrutinized.

“It is because we haven’t had that critical look that I believe we’ve got the mess that we have,” she said. “But more importantly than that, the mess, to me, will continue unless you understand how it got there.”

As for how to pay for completion of the 20-mile, 21-station project, Hanabusa said state House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke is on “the right track” in pushing for an increase to the transient accommodations tax rather than an extension of the general excise tax….

To extend the GET for 10 years, she said, would not be sufficient to complete the project and, because it is a regressive tax, would be “on the backs of the people in the City and County of Honolulu.”….

A spokesperson for the Ige campaign issued a statement late Friday:

Gov. Ige will not comment on undeclared candidates for governor or their allegations. There will be ample time in the future to discuss the many accomplishments of the Ige administration….

read … Hanabusa for Governor?

Government failures continue to mount

SA: …The continuing failure of government to perform its most basic function, public works, is astounding.

Let’s review: the Thirty Meter Telescope, stalled; the Haiku Stairs, closed; the Sacred Falls trail, closed; the pathetic rail transit project, years behind schedule and hopelessly over budget; Thomas Square, closed for more than a year while Mayor Kirk Caldwell allegedly tries to turn it into a revenue-generating facility; the Waikiki Natatorium, closed for 30 years; the Pearl City bike path and adjoining Blaisdell Park, closed due to government’s inability to handle homelessness.

Next up: In a knee-jerk reaction to last month’s tragic Marco Polo fire, government blithely wants to retroactively mandate sprinkler systems for 300 high-rises. This is obviously unaffordable for long-time owners….

read … Fail

GEMS: The Hawaii Program That Keeps on Taking

IM: …Hawai`i borrowed $150 million before figuring out that it would have trouble lending the money to consumers to finance renewable energy projects. In addition, GEMS siphoned off ratepayer funds earmarked to support Hawai`i Energy, the private entity which took over HECO`s, MECO`s, and HELCO`s energy efficiency programs.

The first order of the day for GEMS involved paying consultants, hiring staff, and making interest payments. Then came ideas about loaning money using paper forms, delayed approval mechanisms, and above average interest rates. The last step, currently underway, is to revamp packages to consumers while shifting blame for past failures.

As part of GEMS, the utilities were going to offer a simple, on bill financing (OBF) scheme. That failed.

In late April of this year, the HECO Companies filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission, seeking ratepayer recovery of (a rate hike to cover) the $2.33 million that the utility spent on this failed effort.

The $2.3 million does not include modification to some computer systems and utility programs that were, or are, being recovered from ratepayers through other regulatory proceedings.….

read … GEMS: The Hawai`i Program That Keeps on Taking

UHA 15.3% Obamacare Insurance Rate Hike

SA: …Health insurer University Health Alliance plans to boost premiums an average 8.9 percent next year for 7,405 members with Affordable Care Act policies.

The rate increases for UHA members employed by small businesses range from 6.5 to 15.3 percent.

“Of the 8.9 percent increase, 5.5 percent to 6 percent is attributed to medical inflation and the remainder is mainly for health insurance taxes related to the ACA that will come back in 2018,” UHA President and CEO Howard Lee said in an email…..

read … Thanks, Obama

Star-Adv: Don’t overreach with smoking ban

SA: …a Honolulu City Council proposal that would expand the ban to include the private sphere of one’s vehicle is a well-meaning misstep.

Bill 70, approved on first reading Wednesday and headed for Council committee review, would prohibit smoking tobacco or vaping in vehicles carrying children. While no child should be seated in a smoke-filled vehicle, of course, a city law is not a fitting fix.

Such a ban is an overprotective overreach in that it seeks to control a non-criminal behavior within the private space of one’s own vehicle. Smoking is legal for anyone age 21 and older in Hawaii as long as the puffing takes place in an area not deemed a public setting.

Such a ban prompts slippery- slope possibilities that could make our own homes the jurisdiction of politicians aiming to improve us — and consequently interfering unduly with matters of personal choice. Should smoking be banned in homes, too? Not unless cigarettes and e-cigs become illegal….

SA: Smoking ban in cars excessive regulation

read … Overreach

Dopers Clean Out Supply of Medicated Marijuana in 3 Days

KHON: …Aloha Green opened on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and says it received three times the expected number of patients.

With an average wait period of 1.5 hours, the line outside the dispensary’s entrance had to be cut short before the official closing time on all three days.

Aloha Green will be closed for the remainder of the week, and reopen at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16, for normal business hours. It was initially scheduled to be closed from Sunday to Tuesday.

“We have enough product at the production facility to catch up with demand,” said Tai Cheng, Aloha Green’s chief operating officer. “We have no shortage of product at our production center. This issue comes from our goal to be first to market and the constrains with lab testing. Adjustments to accelerate our planned testing, packaging, and sales schedules have already been made so that we can restock over the weekend.”

Initial company projections had assumed that at least one other Oahu dispensary would be operational, which would have reduced the demand for products.

Now, Aloha Green says, production has been boosted and all available samples are being sent to Steep Hill for testing…..

read … Oahu’s only open medical cannabis dispensary sells out after three days

Chinatown: Six Homeless Accept Shelter Since May

SA: As they have once a month since May, Honolulu police officers in street clothes joined with social service outreach workers Friday to try a different approach to helping the homeless get off the streets of Chinatown in a pilot program that’s likely to spread to other parts of Oahu.

The idea is to share information that outreach workers already have on individual homeless people so that police officers who encounter them will know which social service agencies are working with them, what problems they face and how best to get them help, including the possibility of a shelter bed and even long-term housing.

So far, six people in the downtown/Chinatown area who have been contacted by the teams of social workers and police officers have agreed to take a ride in an HPD patrol car to get off the street and into a shelter, said Lt. Mike Lambert, who is coordinating the approach called H.E.L.P. Honolulu….

…Asked how they felt about HPD’s new partnership with social service agencies that got the couple and their dog into housing, Hershey told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser simply, “It’s awesome.”  He and Morrissey now plan to move to San Diego, reducing Oahu’s homeless population by two…..

read … Social service workers and police join forces to aid homeless

Tarnas announces campaign for Evans’ District 7 House seat

WHT:  …David Tarnas, who last year suffered a whisker-thin primary loss in his campaign to unseat state Rep. Cindy Evans, is ready for a rematch.

Tarnas, 56, who served in the Legislature from 1994 to 1998 representing North Kona and South Kohala, announced his campaign Friday, a year to the day until the 2018 primary.  (6 more years = lifetime pension Woohoo!)

Tarnas lost by 181 votes out of 4,283 votes cast last year in the Democratic primary. Evans went on to beat Republican Jeffrey Coakley to secure her seat….

read … Primary Campaign

Kauai council chair Rapozo to run for Kauai mayor 

KGI: Rapozo has served on seven of the last eight councils and currently leads the body as council chair and as chair of the council’s Committee of the Whole….

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. can’t run for the office again due to term limits.

read … Kauai council chair Rapozo to run for Kauai mayor 

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