$2.4B Tax Hike: How They Voted
Ige Appointments: 5 HCDA, 1 UH Regent, 1 HLRB, 2 Judges
Sex Shame? 9th Circuit Revives Attempt to Shut Down Kauai Drug Rehab Program
Visitor Spending Increases 9.8% in July 2017
Caldwell: I’ll be Back for More
SA: The latest bill to bail out Honolulu’s woefully over-budget rail transit project has cleared another key hurdle, with the state Senate advancing the measure to the House, where it’s expected to pass handily….
Prior to the vote, opponents vented from the Senate floor that such a giant spending measure would sap valuable dollars from Hawaii’s other pressing issues such as public schools and hospitals, homelessness and affordable housing….
“I’m opposed to a Brobdingnagian, budget-busting boondoggle that has become a black hole sucking in” all the money for other state priorities, Sen. Gil Riviere (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua) said, asserting that he’s not anti-rail but against the current project….
Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said before voting in favor. “Our backs are against the wall.”…
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has clashed with Hana- busa, legislative leaders and his own rail allies over that stress test, and whether SB 4 provides enough funding. On Wednesday, he appeared resigned to the outcome of the special session, which almost certainly will be the passage of SB 4.
“I think the bill should pass. I don’t want the bill to die,” Caldwell said. “I’m hopeful that the numbers and assumptions that have been made in this bill will prove correct, and there will be adequate funding to build all the way to Ala Moana.”
He added that “should there be an issue regarding sufficiency of funds, I think it would be something that would have to be discussed at another day.”… (Translation: “I’ll be back.”)
“Among the greatest costs of rail, we can now add the severe degradation of the democratic process. By that I mean this bill was crafted behind closed doors and presented to us with the instructions that there will be no changes before we ever heard from the public,” said Sen. Russell Ruderman (D, Puna-Kau), who voted against SB 4. “We have a major new tax being enacted and we never heard from the public before we wrote the bill.”
Sen. Laura Thielen, who also cast a “no” vote, noted that while the hotel room tax would be increased statewide under the bill, no public hearings were held on the neighbor islands. She added that the weeklong special session was “designed to quash any discussion or debate of alternatives.”
Thielen (D, Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo-Kailua) criticized her colleagues for failing to address dire state needs in plain sight, making reference to a man who has been sleeping on the lawn between the state Capitol and The Queen’s Medical Center for the past few days.
“The irony is every single one of us that drive into this building off of Punchbowl, this entire week we’re driving by an elderly, sick, probably severely mentally ill gentleman, who is lying on the grass slowly dying,” she said. “It’s like a third-world country where we ignore that and we come in here and in a five-day session we pass a bill for $2 billion … and then we walk away.”….
The vote in the House Finance Committee was 8-6 in favor of the measure, with Reps. Romy Cachola (D, Sand Island-Kalihi-Airport), Lynn DeCoite (D, Lanai-Molokai-Paia-Hana), Bert Kobayashi (D, Diamond Head- Kaimuki-Kapahulu), Nicole Lowen (D, Holualoa-Kailua- Kona-Honokohau), Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley- Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai) and Andria Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili) voting against the measure. Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D, Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres) was absent.
The transportation committee voted 4-2 in favor of the bill, with Reps. Sean Quinlan (D, Waialua-Kahuku- Waiahole) and Tom Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kaka- ako) voting against it. Rep. Mark Hashem (D, Hahaione Valley-Aina Haina-Kahala) was absent.
The measure now goes to the full House for a procedural floor vote today, and what is expected to be a final floor vote on Friday….
read … I’ll be back
Politicians stealing from outer islands
MN: …The much-maligned and controversial Honolulu rail system is definitely a scam! It is a County of Honolulu project yet our crooked State of Hawaii “politrickcians” poke their noses in it. Furthermore, they are going to make the County of Hawaii, County of Maui and County of Kauai pay for this devilish Honolulu rail system.
Where is the democracy in this communistic State of Hawaii government? These devils conduct their crooked business behind closed doors and the Honolulu rail system is definitely a Satanic project which rips the County of Hawaii, County of Maui and County of Kauai residents off and it isn’t even their own project.
Yes, democracy doesn’t exist in the communistic State of Hawaii. These devils will make the outer islands pay for a project not even under their jurisdictions. Our communistic State of Hawaii politrikcians will face hell, because, they are stealing from the outer islands and hell is an extremely dark place….
(Another happy constituent!)
HNN: Boondoggle. Budget-busting. Black hole….
read … Communism
ILWU, KSBE Behind Biomess Scheme to Gouge Electric Ratepayers
HTH: …Still, the project could face another hurdle. Environmental group Life of the Land said Monday it filed an appeal of the PUC’s decision to the state Supreme Court, arguing the agency should have considered impacts on climate change.
Harold Robinson, president of Island Energy, Hu Honua’s parent company, said he didn’t have a comment on the appeal, stating his focus is getting the power plant finished by December 2018, a deadline for receiving a crucial tax credit. (As a taxpayer, you are paying them to rip you off as a ratepayer.)
“We’re running on a tight schedule,” he said….. (Good!)
The ILWU, which represented workers at the mill before its closure in 1994 and plantations throughout the state, has a contract with Hu Honua…..
The power plant will be fed by eucalyptus trees harvested mainly in Hamakua, Robinson said. He said Hu Honua has agreements for harvesting trees on Parker Ranch land and Kamehameha Schools land in Pahala. …
KS is finalizing a lease with Hawaii Forest for 10,000 acres of timber land planted on former sugar lands on the Hamakua Coast.
Marius Ellis, president of Forest Solutions, which is part of Hawaii Forest, said the company has had some initial contacts with Hu Honua about using those eucalyptus trees.
Ellis said Hawaii Forest is looking at exporting trees as well as “higher-value processing,” such as creating veneer, on the island…..
Related: Hu Honua 20 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018, rising to over 32 cents per kilowatt-hour
read … Broken Trust Legacy
Trump to Dump Obama’s Dreamers—Chin to Sue
CB: President Trump is considering ending a program that granted temporary legal status to young undocumented immigrants, including more than 500 in Hawaii….
In anticipation of a decision by Trump — expected as early as this week — DACA supporters gathered Wednesday in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Honolulu, vowing a fight to protect the program.
Leading the charge were two officials who have emerged this year as prominent Trump critics: Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono.
“Rescinding the DACA program … is just another example of the president considering a policy that has no basis in factual foundations but is only designed to perpetuate something that’s just appealing to a base that really is discriminatory and discriminating against people based upon the countries that they came from,” Chin said….
read … Lawsuit Coming
Will Robin Danner Control all Hawaii Inter-Island Cables?
CB: …The state of Hawaii has a looming issue that no one wants to talk about.
Two out of three main submarine fiber-optic cables that link neighbor islands to Oahu are reaching the end of their lives.
Hawaiian Telcom owns one of these cables, and partly owns the other with Level 3 Communications…..
Hawaiian Telcom’s submarine fiber-optic cable, Hawaii Inter-Island Cable System, became operational in 1994.
The other jointly owned fiber-optic cable, Hawaii Island Fiber Network, was put into service in 1997.
Paniolo Cable Company owns the third submarine fiber-optic cable, which is solely leased to Sandwich Isles Communications. The latter was operational starting in 2009.
The life expectancy of these submarine fiber-optic cables is roughly 25 years. This means Hawaii Inter-Island Cable’s end of life is in 2019 and Hawaii Island Fiber Network will be in 2022….
Meanwhile: Al Hee Minion Robin Danner Grabs for Control of Crooked Sandwich Isles Scam Company
read … Will Hawaii Deal With Its Aging Fiber-Optic Cables?
Updated Hawaii Salary Database: Doctors And Judges Do Well, Thank You
CB:We’ve added tens of thousands of additional workers, including those in the Department of Education, the Judiciary and general state employees.
read … Salary
More Money for Crooked Honolulu Liquor Commission
SA: A proposal to substantially increase Oahu liquor license fees is expected to come under heavy criticism during a public hearing today before the Honolulu Liquor Commission.
The Hawaii Restaurant Association is urging its 500 members to testify in opposition.
“It continues to be a challenge to run a profitable restaurant in Honolulu,” said Tyler Roukema, the association’s board chairman and managing partner of Outback Steakhouse in Hawaii Kai….
Under the proposal, the annual liquor license fee would increase by more than $800 for many restaurants, a 70 percent increase. Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, caterers and every other category of liquor licensee would see similarly significant hikes as well.
After spiking in fiscal year 2018, the fees would drop somewhat in fiscal year 2019. The cost of a license for most restaurants would decline from $2,040 a year to $1,800, which is still $600 more than the current fee.
“it’s just another expense that adds to the cost of dining out.”
The 4 p.m. public hearing will be held in the hearings room of the Liquor Commission, Pacific Park Plaza Building, 711 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 600.
read … Not Deserving
Hawaii Prescription Drug Abuse Lower than Mainland
HPR: People in Hawaii appear to be much less likely to overuse problematic prescription drugs, including opioid pain medications and antibiotics, than are people on the mainland United States.
Medicare beneficiaries in Hawaii used fewer opioid pain medications, fewer antibiotics, fewer antipsychotic drugs and fewer drugs labeled as risky for seniors on average than did patients in any other state in 2015, according to a ProPublica analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services…..
read … Abuse