Hawaii Statehood: Tiny 1959 opposition was anti-Japanese, not anti-American
Honolulu Republicans: Happy Statehood Day!
Ships No Longer a Mystery: TOTE to Launch New Hawaii Service
Honolulu City Lights application deadline Sept 1
Desperation: HART Backs Efficiency Audit
Kauai Reps Scheme for Rail Tax Hikes
KGI: …Kauai lawmakers aren’t entirely in agreement on a proposal to use money generated from the General Excise Tax to pay for the Honolulu rail project.
“For the neighbor islands, that’s a tough thing to swallow,” said Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, D-15. “A lot of people are emailing me, expressing their displeasure with us voting for something that’s going to be taxing people on Kauai for a rail project on Oahu.”
But Senate President Ron Kouchi supports using TAT funds to help fund the $10 billion project because it will boost the economy here and will improve the experience of Kauai residents who visit Oahu.
“I support it, but it’s hard to say yes when we haven’t seen what the bill looks like yet,” Kouchi said.
That bill, which will dictate how the project will be funded, will be the subject of a special session on Aug. 28. It is expected to last five days.
“I support the House’s position of front loading the rail funding, to avoid billions of dollars leaving the state to pay interest on bond financing,” said Rep. Dee Morikawa, D-16. “I also want the counties to get back their share of $10 million more in TAT funds that were lost on July 1st.”
Rep. Nadine Nakamura said she supports increasing county TAT to address the impacts the visitor industry has on the parks and roads.
“While I’m not pleased with the management of the overall rail project, I support the completion of the project to Ala Moana,” she said.
But she also said the proposal needs to be vetted carefully. The use of the TAT could save the county and the state up to $1.6 billion in financing fees, she said….
Kauai Councilwoman, JoAnn Yukimura, said it’s good the session is occurring.
“There is much at stake for both Honolulu and the neighbor island counties,” she said.
During the special session, Tokioka said he has one mission.
“Trying to negotiate getting the TAT for Oahu only, and not the neighbor islands,” he said….
HPR: Public Transportation Use Dropping in Hawai‘i and Elsewhere
read … Honolulu rail funding takes center stage at special session
Ige says he can beat Hanabusa in a potential 2018 match-up
HNN: …"Certainly. I believe that I will be successful for any of those candidates that are considering it," he said.
While Ige says he's sure he could win reelection in 2018, he says he doesn't know why powerful democratic forces are looking to defeat him with a candidate like Hanabusa in the primary election next August.
"I don't know. I know we need to do a better job sharing our story," said Ige.
He believes he deserves reelection because of accomplishments like cooling hundreds of classrooms, leading a state that's a model for sustainability, reducing homelessness and creating affordable housing which has a goal of 1,000 housing units by 2020.
"I'm proud of the work we've done. We've made significant progress in many areas," said Ige.
The governor dismisses his critics who've said he lacks leadership ability and vision.
"We have had the governor's vision on our website for more than two years now that talks about changing the trajectory of Hawaii," he said.
As lawmakers near a possible special session on the 3 billion dollar shortfall for the rail project, Ige thinks an increase in the transit accommodation tax should be included to help pay for it.
"I do think having a balance of a modest increase in the TAT and maybe an extension to the GET. I think the most important consideration is we do have to provide sufficient funds," said Ige…..
read … Hana Who?
Ige: I Want to Remind You I had Nothing to do With Kishimoto Pick and Neither did my Wife
CB: …He’s encouraged by how Kishimoto is already visiting schools around the state. That, he said, “is a terrific change. (Not setting a very high bar are we?)….
“I was not involved, my wife was not involved,” Ige said during an hour-long interview Thursday with Civil Beat at his office at the State Capitol. (Know them by what they deny!) “The board had engaged a consultant to cast a wide net and I feel confident the board chose the best person.” (Ooops!)
Still, Ige acknowledged that he didn’t like the direction the schools were headed under Matayoshi.
“It was a very top-down period in our public schools system,” he said. “A lot of that was driven by No Child Left Behind and the notion that if we can find things that work, we ought to apply them across every school. I don’t believe that that can be successful.”
Ige’s statements were among his most forceful yet in distancing himself from rumors that he had a hand in the superintendent changeover.
The governor expressed support for the new schools chief, praising Kishimoto’s approach in tackling her new job.
“She is out in the schools. She has made it a point to visit,” he said. “She is talking with teachers, talking with students, she’s listening. I think that’s very important. She’s trying to get a sense of what is important to schools, what’s important to students.”
“I mean, she went to the Farrington-Kamehameha football game unannounced,” he said. (Yes. We are setting a low bar here.) “And she’s been going to football games on weekends to get a sense of what is happening at schools. I think that that’s a tremendous change from previous (administrators), just in terms of understanding that the learning occurs at the school, in the classroom.” ….
read … Hawaii Gov. David Ige Talks Schools With Civil Beat
Honolulu Council Resolution: Block All Mainland HPD Chief Applicants
SA: …City Councilman Ernie Martin wants the Honolulu Police Commission to speed up its search for a new police chief, and he suggests the hiring process “should be shortened by choosing the new chief from one of the qualified leaders currently serving in the department.”
Martin introduced Resolution 17-220, asking his colleagues to join him in pressing the commission to fill the chief’s post by Nov. 30. The job has been vacant since embattled former Chief Louis Kealoha resigned effective March 1 amid controversy….
read … Keep corruption alive
Caldwell Trick will Put 8,000 Condos in Highest Property Tax Bracket Sept 1
SA: Question: For the past 13 years, I have been renting out a unit that I own. I just heard about a new rule that will triple my property taxes unless I file a certain form by the end of the month. The letter from the city wasn’t mailed to me. It was mailed to the apartment, so my tenant got it. Fortunately, the tenant forwarded it to me. Without this form, my property taxes would rise, and I would have to raise the rent, which would hurt the tenant. Please find out more. I’m probably not the only landlord in this situation.
Answer: You apparently own one of about 8,000 condominiums in 45 Oahu buildings affected by a tax-reform measure approved last spring. Under Ordinance 17-13, eligible owners in complexes zoned for mixed use, hotel or commercial use have until Sept. 1 to dedicate certain property for residential use or lose the lower property tax rate that comes with that classification.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Andrew Gomes reported in June (808ne.ws/6152017) that the city was mailing out letters explaining the change to owners of condos that permit flexible use as residences, office space or hotel rentals. Owners who fail to mail or hand-deliver the form on or before Sept. 1 will have their property placed in the highest allowable tax category….
read … Flex Use
Thirty Meter Telescope executive hopeful project will receive permit ahead of September hearing
PBN: …Stone said the July 26 recommendation by Amano gives him hope that the project can proceed on Mauna Kea.
“The fact that it was a very clear recommendation by the hearing officer after 44 days of hearings by 71 witnesses, I’m hopeful that the board will issue a permit,” he told Pacific Business News….
“It is very important for us to start working on the mountain,” Stone added. “That’s where everything has to end up and be put together. … This is a multi-year process that will begin with the site work.”
Final oral arguments for the contested case hearing will take place on Sept. 20 at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.
During the hearing, each party will have 15 minutes to present their final arguments to the BLNR.
TMT officials announced in October that La Palma on Spain’s Canary Islands is their alternative site for the telescope, should their efforts to build in Hawaii fail.
The project’s leaders, however, have remained adamant that the top of Mauna Kea is still the preferred choice for the project.
Stone said it’s not clear what the cost difference of the project would be between the two locations.
“Until we have our permit, it’s a little hard to say what the cost difference will be,” he said. “That will be a factor we will look at as we reach the conclusion in this whole process.”
Despite the delays and protests from certain groups, Stone said he feels the project will be welcomed should it be given the go ahead.
“My impression is that there is general public interest and support for TMT in Hawaii and we feel we will be welcomed,” he said. “But we do have to follow the process that the state has laid out. And that’s where we’re at.”
read … Thirty Meter Telescope executive hopeful project will receive permit ahead of September hearing
For most, life is not an either/or proposition
Cataluna: …Our current mindset doesn’t always allow for anything other than a “for” or “against” label. You’re either completely in agreement with a side or you’re seen as an enemy of the cause. There is no room for complicated feelings or complex reasoning or shades of gray. If you have questions or concerns, you’re a hater and a foe.
This seems to be the case with the turmoil over telescopes on both Hawaii island’s Mauna Kea and Maui’s Haleakala. Either you stand as a Hawaiian or with Hawaiians and see these structures as an abomination, or you side with the abominators. News coverage reflects this binary distinction, as when “prominent Native Hawaiians” have voiced their support for the telescope projects and their stance is colored as though it crosses a cultural, genealogical divide.
But in most things, human beings are not yes-or-no creatures. When we’re asked to check one of two boxes, regardless of the question, we often feel that discomfort of knowing that neither answer is quite right. There are caveats and exceptions and long explanations. Feelings change over time. One’s worldview shifts with life experiences. Sometimes the way we see an issue comes as a surprise even to ourselves.
It is possible to be health-conscious, to love your children and the environment and to not worry about GMO products in your cupboard.
It is possible to work at a beachfront resort but still mourn the loss of a wild, undeveloped coastline.
It is possible to love Hawaii, to love America, but to hate things that people do in the name of that same love.
People are complicated. Issues are complicated. Pretending both are not doesn’t help….
read … For most, life is not an either/or proposition
Hawaii developers face challenges selling affordable housing units
PBN: …Mary Flood, senior vice president of sales at DR Horton — Schuler Division, said Hoopili, which will have 11,000 homes to be built over the next 25 years, will have 3,000 designated as affordable in keeping with city requirements. The affordable units will be sold to those making 80 percent of the area median income and 120 percent of the area median income.
“It is harder to find people who qualify at the 80 percent income level than at the 120 percent income level,” Flood said.
Flood said the company’s projects on Kauai have experienced this issue as well.
“The county of Kauai has a list of over 600 people on their affordable housing list that have gone through classes to become mortgage ready, so when something comes out they are ready to buy,” Flood said during a lunch event hosted by the Hawaii Society of Business Professionals. “We did a lottery about 60 days ago, and of those 600 people, 20 people came in the door, only four people were qualified, and one person purchased a home.”
Due to the difficulty of finding qualified buyers at the 80 percent AMI level, DR Horton has negotiated with the city of Honolulu to be able to raise the bracket to 100 percent AMI if not enough buyers are found.
Castle and Cooke’s Koa Ridge project will have 1,050 affordable-designated homes, delivered over the next 10 years, to meet city requirements, with 10 percent for those making under 80 percent of the AMI, 10 percent for under 120 percent, and 10 percent for under 140 percent.
“We have the same 30 percent requirement as Hoopili, but they were smart because they kept the 120 percent AMI figure in order to be able to increase the 80 percent figure if not enough homes are sold,” Bruce Barrett, executive vice president of Castle and Cooke, said during the event….
SA: FOCUS Sees Profit in Rail, TOD
read … Hawaii developers face challenges selling affordable housing units
DoH: Many People Not Fooled by ‘Medical’ Marijuana
SA: …A number of public safety problems as well as individual health problems. An apparent increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents attributed to recreational cannabis. An increase in first-responder calls, whether it’s EMS or fire, what have you. Increased emergency room visits. And these are big concerns….
We learned from reports from other states that people were getting sick or sicker because of impurities and contaminants found in the marijuana sold in those states.
Since Hawaii’s foundational principles include patient safety and products safety, we believed independent laboratory testing was imperative as the right thing to do, and certified independent private labs were the proper way for that to happen. This meant that for the state to certify labs, labs would need to demonstrate accurate and consistent testing results on tests they perform for specific impurities and contaminants.
Impurities and contaminants include heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury; solvents such as butane, benzene and others; pesticides; and visible examination would detect foreign materials such as mold, hair, insects or plastics….
Hawaii learned from other states the need for a more detailed and structured regulatory environment that more clearly identifies the qualifications to apply for and possess a medical cannabis dispensary license. These include background checks on applicants and dispensary employees, physical security requirements such as a secure building and security cameras, and tracking of cannabis throughout the cultivation, harvesting, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sales processes.
The need for independent laboratory testing was another lesson learned to ensure patient and product safety especially when patients are already dealing with chronic health conditions and at risk for illnesses from impurities….
Patient safety, product safety and public safety are our main concerns. Our regulatory responsibility is to ensure registered medical cannabis patients and licensed medical cannabis dispensaries comply with state law so that patient, product, and public safety are assured….
We expect there are large segments of the public who do or do not accept cannabis as having medicinal properties or value.
Our role as regulators is to ensure compliance with state laws regardless of public or personal opinions….
read … Most People Not Fooled
Fewer people are using public transportation in Honolulu
PBN: An American City Business Journals analysis of federal data indicates that usage of public transportation — a cornerstone to most proposals to reduce carbon emissions — has been on the decline for the better part of a decade. In fact, U.S. passenger counts were lower in 2016 than they were in 2008, and public transit systems in some 42 states and the District of Columbia collectively failed to grow ridership from levels posted in 2015.
read … Fewer people are using public transportation in Honolulu
Muslim Sues Hawaiian Tel: Presence of Trump Supporter Violates my Rights
CB: …The lawsuit alleges that Saeed Khosravi-Babadi was mocked for his accent and called “the Mad Iranian” by his boss, Vito Nozza, a Canadian citizen and Hawaii resident and director of solutions engineering at Hawaiian Telcom.
Khosravi-Babadi, also a Canadian national and Hawaii resident, says Nozza made derogatory comments about Muslims while he was near his desk and within earshot.
According to the suit, Nozza reportedly said “he thought then-candidate Donald Trump was right and that the United States should drop a bomb on the Middle East to kill all the Muslim terrorists.”…
Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Su Shin said the company would not comment on the lawsuit, but said a complaint Khosravi-Babadi filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was investigated and no violation was found….
PDF: Lawsuit Text
Totally Unrelated News: Barcelona 13 Dead
read … Muslim Seeks Your Submission
County Council approves gun ranges for the Big Island
HTH: …The county Game Management Advisory Commission is shooting for a quick solution to the lack of gun ranges on the island.
A unanimous County Council vote Wednesday on Resolution 246 gave the commission the go-ahead to begin the process of locating potential sites, finding funding and putting together public and private partners. Commission Chairman Tom Lodge said after the meeting the process is already in the works.
“This is a community effort so the community is going to be involved in this in a big way,” Lodge said. “There’s a real need and an urgency that we certainly understand.”…
read … Approve
Ignored, Fukumoto Finds Way to Get Some Attention
SA: Best Comment: “Since the author of the letter is not identified there's no way of knowing whether or not it is a hoax perpetrated by an angry left winger. The letter is unashamedly used by Ms. Fukumoto to paint anyone who supports the president as a white nationalist. And I always thought the left was against stereotyping, guess I was wrong.”
read … Attention Seeker