Understanding the Congressional tax bill
SHOPO Raises Total 17%
SA: Police officers in Hawaii will receive annual pay raises over the next four years in an arbitration award expected to cost the city of Honolulu $96 million.
The union representing the state’s police officers announced Friday that an arbitrator’s binding decision will result in a 2 percent raise retroactive to July 1, followed by a 2.25 percent increase next year, then 2 percent raises each of the following two years.
With a boost in the firearms allowance and bonuses, the contract will result in a cumulative increase from 14 to 17 percent, said Tenari Ma’afala, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO)….
According to the latest arbitration award, the compensation for police officers to maintain their firearms and ammunition for training and other related expenses will double to $1,000 from $500 per year.
The decision continues the one-time lump sum bonuses ranging from $1,800 to $2,000 per year. However, a new $500 step bonus will be offered to officers with at least 28 years of employment, effective in 2020….
He said the details governing the use of body cameras are still being discussed in other negotiations with the city….“For us, we definitely support it,” he said, adding that he’s confident video footage will afford officers “a better argument relative to the accusations that have been lodged against them.”
read … SHOPO settlement could cost city $96M
Condos mean rail expansion to Manoa, Waikiki would be impossible — at least on current route
HNN: …The Ala Moana station for Honolulu’s rail line will be built on Kona Street between Piikoi and Konaiki streets….
But to eventually get to the University of Hawaii, the preferred route takes the rail line east on Kona Street with a mauka turn near Atkinson Drive to connect to Kapiolani Boulevard.
But the rail agency is now warning officials that the train won’t be able to fit through that corridor.
"There's been recent developments, real estate developments in the Ala Moana area, which essentially block any future extension of the route,” HART Executive Director and CEO Andrew Robbins said. (And the morons at HART didn’t bother to speak up when the condos were being approved?)
On Friday, Robbins showed the rail board how the 45-story condo being built at 1631 Kapiolani and a 36-story tower planned near the Convention Center cut off the Kona street access to Kapiolani.
UH traffic engineer Panos Prevedouros said the situation is, simply, "poor planning."
He thinks rail planners should scrap any idea of an alternate route.
“They're talking about expansion of a system that we don't have enough funds to complete as it is. It's premature,” he said.
Robbins, though, wants the City Council to allow HART to study and plan an alternate route to Kapiolani to accommodate a future extension of the rail line.
read … Condos
Legislative Agenda: UH Grubs for More Money
SA: The University of Hawaii Board of Regents is asking for an extra $16.8 million in operating funds for the next academic year….
…The budget proposal earmarks $2.85 million to boost the base pay of graduate assistants by about $300 a month, by moving them up four steps on the salary schedule. It would also give 2 percent raises to graduate students who are already at that higher level, known as “Step 10,” which now pays close to $2,200 a month. Graduate assistants also receive tuition waivers.
“I thank the board for including the salary increase in your budget,” Taylor Lewis, president of the UH-Manoa Graduate Student Organization, told the regents. “I hope that you all recognize that it only scratches the surface of what is needed for graduate students at this university.”
UH is also seeking another $700,000 to fully fund Hawaii’s Promise, a “last dollar” scholarship for students with financial need at community colleges. Launched this fall, the scholarship kicks in after students exhaust other public and private grants and scholarships. It aims to remove tuition as a barrier for community college students defined as needy under federal guidelines.
Hawaii’s Promise is benefiting 100 percent of eligible students — 1,740 students across the state — at a cost of $2.5 million, according to UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl. The university had requested $2.5 million for the new program last year, and lawmakers appropriated $1.87 million. Community colleges dipped into their reserves to cover the shortfall, he said, and UH is asking for $700,000 to cover the full cost in the next academic year.
The biggest item in the UH operating budget request is $5 million for facilities maintenance, both repair projects and staff positions. The figure includes a request for a $500,000 Access Security System to enhance safety for students and staff at UH campuses.
Other requests include:
>> $4.6 million for staff positions to support underserved students, including Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, veterans and people with disabilities.
>> $1.1 million for academic and other student services at UH West Oahu to support its recent enrollment growth.
>> $1.2 million to “in-source” security services at community colleges and hire staff to maintain the new Inouye College of Pharmacy Building at UH Hilo.
The supplemental funding request comes on top of the university’s base budget of $441 million in general funds, according to Kalbert Young, chief financial officer for the UH system. The university also relies on revenue from tuition and other sources.
Separately, regents are also requesting $269 million for capital improvement projects statewide for the 2019 fiscal year, which typically are paid for with bonds.
HTH: UH-Hilo students urge state to change course on higher education funding
read … UH seeks funding for facilities and student support
Saito: I Care About the HGEA Members That Were Doing Me
CBS: …Saito somehow managed to get on a plane from Hawaii to California, and then paid a taxi to drive him from San Jose to Stockton. The hospital didn’t raise an alert until an hour after Saito’s flight landed in San Jose
He wouldn’t say how he got the money but admitted to having relationships with at least two of the hospital staff.
“These women I had relationships with, I generally care for them and it wasn’t, ‘Can you bring me this?’ ‘Can you get me this?’ ‘Can you get me out?’ No,” he said….
read … Saito Delays
Suspect in Two Child sex assaults arrested after illicit trip to Mexico
SA: A former preschool teacher awaiting trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl is in custody after state officials learned he went to Mexico while he was free on $100,000 bail.
An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment in 2013 charging Kaleb Acklin with first-degree sexual assault. The indictment alleges that the assault happened in 2011….
Acklin had been free on $100,000 bail since November 2011. One of the standard conditions of his release is that he is prohibited from leaving Oahu without obtaining permission. Acklin, however, was never ordered to turn in his passport.
Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy told acting Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong on Wednesday that she had recently learned that Acklin went to Cancun, Mexico, in January. She said the Department of Homeland Security told her Acklin flew to Mexico through Houston on Jan. 7 and returned to Honolulu on Jan. 17.
Since his return another grand jury returned an indictment charging Acklin with sexually assaulting a second child between August 2009 and January 2011, starting when the victim was 6. Acklin posted $200,000 bail for that case….
TV: Babysitter indicted on charge of sexually assaulting girl, 4
read … Soft on Child Molesters
Police officer accused of DUI, false reporting appears in court
KHON: …Sgt. Albert Lee was in his subsidized police vehicle when it crashed in Hawaii Kai on Nov. 17, 2016. (They day he was to testify before Grand Jury.)
The vehicle plowed into a Hawaiian Electric switching vault, cutting power to approximately 1,700 homes and businesses in the area.
Lee told investigators he was not driving, but couldn’t identify who was behind the wheel.
The Honolulu Police Department says he has been on desk duty since the crash.
Lee is due back in court Dec. 8….
read … DUI
Counties to Develop ‘Climate Change Resiliency Plans
IM: … Eric Wilson stated that Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, created the 100 Resilient Cities program in 2013, on their hundredth anniversary. The Foundation wanted to assist in the planning of “cities in a way that achieves multiple benefits”.
The Foundation would provide funding for staff and for professional develop, promoting the concept of city planners “looking at the intersections between environmental, social and economic outputs and goals, and objectives.”
(Translation: They’re going to impose the same plan on us.)
To date, 36 resiliency plans have been developed, ten of which are in the U.S., the most recent being Atlanta.
“San Juan Puerto Rico is one of our cities” asserted Eris. “Today the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation announced a partnership, a $5M partnership, to create an independent Puerto Rico recovery authority that is going to be dedicated to working with the federal government to advocate for Puerto Rico `s medium to long-term recovery after Hurricane Maria.
(Translation: We are exploiting the hurricane damage in an attempt to take over the utility on behalf of green energy scammers.)
Makena Coffman discussed the local particulars: “In July the Governor signed into law Act 32 which states that Hawaii is still committed to the Paris. What that actually means, right?, what the alignment with the Paris goal means, is still to be determined, and I think in large part to be determined not by just by the State but by the actions of the County.
“After the Governor signed Act 32 into law, then the four county mayors got together and said, we`re also committed to this, and as part of this we are going to develop our greenhouse gas inventories, and our climate action plans.
“Right now, the State, through the Department of Health, is in the process of updating our statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, which means we will have comprehensive inventories for the years 1990, 2007, and new inventories for 2010 and 2015. So that`s a huge resource for us.”
Coffman added that ICF conducted the 1990 and 2007. “It will be really interesting to see the 2010 and 2015 inventories.”
Reality: Clean Energy Fail: While Most States Clean Up, Hawaii CO2 Emissions Rise Since '08
read … Climate