UPDATE: Billion Dollar Bailout Added to Rail Tax Hike Bill
Full Text: Feds Letter Demanding Rail Plan by Sept 15
Honolulu: For 1000s Property Tax Rate Will Quadruple Sept 1
Honolulu Republicans Protest Rail Bailout Bill
Legislators Exploit Caldwell’s Unpopularity to Distract Public While Enacting Massive Tax Hike
Borreca: Politics is mostly a selling job. If folks agree with you, the sale is made. If enough folks are convinced, you can lead them and possibly you can get them to do what you want, which would be political leadership.
Today Mayor Kirk Caldwell has succeeded only in uniting the state Legislature against him and his ever-increasing demand for more money and more time to finish his city rail project. If anything, he is showing a talent for leading people away from himself.
After taking public testimony, holding private meetings and comparing a lot of even more private notes, legislative leaders last week came up with a plan to again bail out Caldwell’s train. …
“As a revenue package this is bigger than anything that was contemplated during the regular session,” Schatz said at the same news conference.
(See how this works?)
SA: Rail plan solid; now up to city (More of the same.)
read … Deception
Make Sister Isles Pay for Rail? Senators say ‘No’ but Big Island Reps Ready to Stab Constituents in Back
HTH: A bill requiring the neighbor islands to help bail out Honolulu’s overbudget rail project is roundly opposed by Hawaii County officials, the chambers of commerce, hotel industry, many Big Island residents and all four of the island’s state senators.
- Kai Kahele: NO
- Russell Ruderman: NO
- Josh Green: NO
- Lorraine Inouye: NO
- Mark Nakashima: YES
- Chris Todd: NO
- Richard Onishi: YES
- Joy San Buenaventura: YES
- Richard Creagon: YES
- Nicole Lowen: YES
- Cindy Evans: YES
read … Backstab
Ige: Who needs Campaign cash When I Have Unions?
Shapiro: Gov. David Ige said he can beat U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in next year’s Democratic primary. His message to voters is simple: He promised nothing and he delivered it.
>> The governor isn’t worried he’s raised only $250,000 for his re-election. Who needs campaign funds when you have an $893 million state budget surplus to give public worker unions? ….
read … Lolos choose waiting game as tokers’ day finally arrives
Alarmed at Possibility of Outside Chief, Some on Council suggest having mayor pick police chief
SA: …Councilman Ernie Martin introduced a resolution — unanimously endorsed last week by the Council Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee — urging the commission to speed up its timetable. Before approval, language was added to Martin’s original proposal asking that the commission give preference to someone currently or previously with the Honolulu Police Department.
The original resolution called for the commission to make a selection by Nov. 30. But after being told by commission Executive Director Dan Lawrence that the panel was aiming to make a pick by the end of October, committee members amended the resolution to say Oct. 31.
The commission announced in May that it has 34 eligible candidates, but the selection process has been bogged down by delays in the hiring of a consultant to assist in the pick. The consultant began work in mid-July.
Martin said most of the six members now on the commission have been there a while and should have been able to make a selection without a consultant. “Here we are in August, and they’ve made no progress,” he said at a committee meeting last week.
Commission Chairman Max Sword was out of state but submitted written testimony to the committee asking that the resolution be deferred. He took exception to language in Martin’s resolution stating the panel appeared reluctant to fulfill its responsibility to make a hire.
“To even hint that we are not conscientiously performing our duties is an insult at the very least,” Sword said, explaining the arduous work the volunteer commissioners have been undertaking. Sword said he also disagreed with the resolution’s characterization of HPD’s morale as very low…..
(Meanwhile HPD keeps raiding illegal gaming rooms just to remind politicians that a way of life is at stake.)
read … Keep Corruption Alive
Lawsuit Challenges PUC Approval of Hu Honua Biomass Plant
IM: Life of the Land has lodged an appeal to the Hawai`i Supreme Court to reverse the Public Utilities Commission ruling in favor of the HELCO-Hu Honua biomass power purchase agreement. This is the first challenge by a PUC docket participant regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Hawai`i. Life of the Land is represented by Maui attorney Lance D. Collins.
The PUC granted Life of the Land participant status in this case because of our extensive research and understanding of energy and environmental issues. “It is critical that state regulatory agencies consider climate change,” asserted Henry Curtis, Executive Director of Life of the Land. “And, the PUC is specifically required by law to do so.”
Since 2011, the PUC has been expressly mandated by state law (Act 109 SLH 2011) to consider greenhouse gas emissions in their decision-making but has continued to totally disregard its duties under the law.
Life of the Land believes that the total lack of any analysis let alone any mention of greenhouse gas emissions in the final decision of the Commission was grave error compounded by the PUC's categorical dismissal of Life of the Land's attempts to raise these issues. Life of the Land is asking that the Hawaii Supreme Court vacate the PUC's decision and direct it to properly consider all issues required by law.
read … Appeal Challenging PUC Approval of the Hu Honua Biomass Project Lodged in the Hawaii Supreme Court
Money: A&B, Activists Fight for Control of Profitable Water
MN: East Maui stream flow increases still ‘a gross imbalance’ according to Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners….
read … Officer urges more water returned to streams
Balance soars past $20,000 in SNAP account
SA: …The Hawaii system that administers federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollars, formerly called food stamps, has allowed at least one recipient to accumulate more than $20,000 in unused benefits.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser questioned the state Department of Human Services about its SNAP system after reviewing a photo of a local store receipt from Aug. 7 that showed the beneficiary had accrued $20,207.31 in available funds on an electronic balance transfer card.
DHS spokeswoman Keopu Reelitz confirmed last week that the receipt was authentic, but called the case “unusual.” ….
“I can only assure you that the Department of Human Services enforcement branch is doing a great job now that they are fully staffed and I trust that they will do what is right,” Rep Dee ‘HGEA’ Morikawa said.
Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank, said the state should investigate this case, but that the whole system needs an overhaul.
“Anything with that level of asininity is a symptom of a much larger structural problem,” Rector said. “This example tells me that the program is not at all well-administered and the people who are administering it don’t have any particular incentive to remove waste.”
He said supporting the Trump administration’s proposals to add a work requirement for able-bodied SNAP recipients and to require states, which currently don’t fund SNAP, to provide 25 percent of the program’s support, would go a long way to resolving the program’s problems in Hawaii and elsewhere.
“Setting job requirements weeds out fraud and making states fiscally responsible ensures that they will operate their programs more prudently,” Rector said….
read … $20,000
Tourism economy failing local families
SA: For me and my family, the time may have passed. After living most of our lives in Hawaii, my husband, myself and two of our three children left. Hawaii remains in our hearts, but it no longer welcomes us. As the old quote says: “You can’t live on love alone.”….
SA: Hawaii tourism headed for another record-breaking year
read … Failing