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Sunday, December 03, 2017
December 3, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:56 PM :: 1524 Views

Tupola: Equal Funding for Charter Schools

'Certificate of need’ laws are certifiably unnecessary

The Truth About OHA Audits

The Tax Administration Slush Fund

Hawaii 2nd Best State for Healthy Retirement

Child Molester Known to Kam Schools for 51 Years

SA: Kamehameha therapist accused of abuse was respected member of society (a top liberal activist)….

Browne was one of five Hawaii residents who traveled to Alabama with lei that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and others wore in leading the protesters on the march….

he was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in Honolulu….

Browne’s tenure as psychiatric consultant to Kamehameha and as chief of psychiatry at St. Francis ended in the early ’80s, about a decade before he killed himself. During his stint as a consultant, which dated to the late ’50s, Browne treated hundreds of Kamehameha students….

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs say that Kamehameha was told about accusations against Browne as far back as 1966….  (That’s 51 years ago.)

In the Honolulu medical community, the psychiatric society’s board of review heard rumors in the 1970s or ’80s of inappropriate behavior by Browne, according to Dr. Robert Marvit, who was a member of the board back then.

But the rumors were so general — not even indicating the type of misconduct — that the board couldn’t (yeah right) pursue them, Marvit said. (Now watch him shift blame.) He said he told St. Francis officials about them.  (See how this works?)….

SA: Keiki Helu ‘Ekahi? Is the image worth the fight?

read … 51 Years

Nobody on Big Island Wants a GE Tax Hike—March 31 deadline approaching

HTH: Time is running out for the County Council to consider a general excise tax surcharge granted by the state Legislature during its special session earlier this year.

The surcharge, of up to a half-cent on the dollar, has become a political hot potato in a county struggling to find enough money to balance its budget in the face of increasing costs for services and employees. Mayor Harry Kim and the County Council already raised property taxes and gas taxes earlier this year.

The Legislature allowed the county option as part of a bill adding a 1 percent increase to the transient accommodations tax on hotels and short-term rentals, while limiting the counties’ share to $103 million annually. The extra 1 percent of the TAT is earmarked for Honolulu’s controversial rail project.

The optional GET increase for the neighbor islands was approved by state legislators even as they justified the TAT increase by saying it is preferable to the Honolulu GET because it is less regressive and doesn’t hit the poor the hardest.

Estimated to raise anywhere from $25 million to as much as $40 million for the county annually, the extra half-penny must be passed by the council and approved by the mayor by March 31 or the county loses its opportunity, at least until the Legislature gives it another chance.

That deadline, taking into account a required public hearing, a committee hearing and two council hearings, puts the timeline somewhere in the neighborhood of the council committees’ Jan. 23 meeting date for a bill to be introduced, said Deputy County Clerk Jon Henricks.

“If something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen very soon,” Henricks said. “That window’s still ajar, but it’s closing.”

Kim doesn’t like the tax because he thinks it disproportionately affects the poor.

He’s still advocating that the Legislature allow counties to share more equally in the TAT that is raised on its islands instead of the state taking it. He also doesn’t like restrictions on what the GET money can be used for.

“This is beyond unfair,” Kim said. “First they give us the ability to raise the excise tax and then they tell us how to spend it.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director Wil Okabe, Kim’s right-hand man, has been talking to council members about a bill.

“I believe the council members should have a lengthy discussion about this,” Okabe said.

But apparently, no one wants their name on it.

read … Clock ticking on GET option: County has until March 31 to decide on half-cent surcharge

Affordable Housing Slips in to Neighborhoods—Council Reso 17- 276 to Stop It

SA: …A resolution, as first introduced by Councilman Trevor Ozawa, called for limiting both bedrooms and wet bars. But DPP Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa later convinced the Council Zoning and Permitting Committee that instead limiting floor area would be a easier to enforce. That makes sense as a more tangible fix. Room use, of course, is slippery because it can be reconfigured shortly before a DPP inspector knocks at the front door.

Resolution 17- 276, which is expected to go before the Council for a final vote on Wednesday, would limit the floor-to-area ratio (also known as density) of new residential buildings, require more parking for larger houses and require builders to obtain a conditional use permit from the Council if proposed residential structures are larger than a certain size….

Related: Zoning, Land-Use Planning, and Housing Affordability

read … Stop Building Affordable Housing

Convention Center Losing Money Again? Hopes to Distract You by Blaming Trump

SA: …Concerns about the travel ban from meeting planners, who book group meetings, convention and incentive travel, so far this year have cost the Hawai‘i Convention Center more than 40,000 future room nights, said convention center General Manager Teri Orton….

Travel ban woes lost the center its bid for the 2025 International Union for Nutritional Science, which went to Paris, and for Women Deliver 2018, which went to Canada, along with an electrical engineering conference slated for 2018 and an international medical association conference that would have come to Hawaii in 2022, Orton said.

“With the travel ban in place, some associations are telling us that they feel the U.S. is not friendly,” she said. “Canada is actually using the ban to (its) advantage by marketing Canada as a very welcoming country.”

The center also lost 10,000 room nights from its 2017 totals when Art Hawaii rescheduled its event from this year to next year due to unease over possible disruptions from the nuclear siren testing that resumed Friday…

(IQ Test: Do you believe any of this?)

Heightened concerns are worrisome for the circa-1998 center, which just turned its first profit last year, she said.

After sustaining more than $55.3 million in losses since its opening, the center ended 2016 with a small profit of $611,500. This year, the center is expected to return a profit of $873,100…..

During the first 10 months, the center hosted 151 events; it is expected to finish the year with 180 events, down from 205 events last year. Through October, the center occupancy was 34 percent. On average, occupancy at successful centers falls between 40 and 60 percent, Orton said.

Still, Orton said the convention center is within 35 percent of its year-end goal to book 232,000 future hotel room nights…

read … Convention Center Starts Losing Money Again

Our state and city governments just can’t get a handle on costly recycling programs

Borreca: Welcome to the city and state departments of “I’m going to scream and pull out all of my hair.”

Both the city and state have recently produced audits of the various city and state recycling programs; each notes that neither the city nor the state is doing the job and that it has been repeatedly told of its failings….

the State Auditor’s series of reports pointing out that the bottle recycling program does not work, does not recycle any bottles and costs the city, state and consumers extra expense.

Last year’s audit dryly noted “that the cost of recycling non-deposit glass containers exceeded the amount of revenue collected by the State.”

As far as the bottle business, the state pays you to bring back the bottle and then ships it back to to be recycled. So it pays twice.

Recent state studies, however, point out that the mainland glass shipped to Hawaii as beer bottles is shipped back to Strategic Materials near Oakland, Calif., which buys it for between $5 and $9 a ton.

The reason to start pulling out your hair is that shipping charges the state pays for sending recyclable material back to California is approximately $120 per ton.

Even a state legislator can figure out that selling something for $9 when it costs you $120 is not the path to financial sustainability….

A recent city audit explains that if the city actually burned what it could of recyclable material it collects instead of shipping it overseas to be recycled, it could have saved $7 million between 2013 and 2016.

The problem now with HPOWER is that the city is not feeding it enough garbage. If the city sent its collected recyclables to the burners on Sand Island, it would have generated another $29.5 million in saved electrical costs.

According to a recent Star-Advertiser report: “The city contracts with Covanta Honolulu to run HPOWER, and it must send that operator 800,000 tons of waste a year or else pay the difference. From 2013 to 2105 the city paid out $6.2 million to cover the tons it missed and their lost electricity revenues, according to the auditor’s report.”…

read … Our state and city governments just can’t get a handle on costly recycling programs

Legislature to consider ferry system

KGI: A study looking at the viability of a state-owned ferry system will be presented to the state Legislature this month, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Lawmakers commissioned the $50,000 study last session.

The purpose is to take a look at other publicly owned fleets, such as in Washington state, and how that could work here….

DOT contracted with SMS Research to conduct a “market analysis to determine demand for and price sensitivity related to an intra-island, intra-county and inter-island ferry service,” agency spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said in an email.

Additionally, the study looks at infrastructure requirements, environmental law compliance, operating costs and financing options, she said. Recommendations will be included.…

Hundreds of community activists (newly arrived mainlanders) and environmentalists (Kauai County Democratic Party leaders) arrived at Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor to protest the ferry’s maiden voyage from Honolulu on Aug. 26, 2007, blocking the delivery of nearly 500 passengers and sending them back to Oahu, (thus maintaining Hawaii as the only large archipelago not served by a ferry system).

The incident received national attention and confirmed Kauai’s reputation as being fiercely independent and determined to protect its resources (an insane asylum surrounded by water).

When the Superferry arrived at Nawiliwili again the next day, twice as many protesters lined the pier and nearly a hundred (haole) activists entered the water on surfboards and canoes to create a blockade that prevented the boat from docking after several hours. 

(This is part of the process by which mainland haoles were brought into the Democratic Party after Lingle was elected Governor.  Regressive leftism –anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO, Superferry, cane smoke, pesticide, dairy, etcetcetc-- activism is part of the price we pay for maintaining the one-party system.)

read … Legislature to consider ferry system

Trump’s EPA funds anti-GMO movement in Hawaii

JC: The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a federal grant that supports the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii.

Deldi Reyes, environmental justice program manager for the EPA’s Region 9 Enforcement Area, maintained the grant was “more about pesticides in general” than GMOs. However, the grant project specifically targets the companies that grow GMO and hybrid seeds on the island of Kauai.

And though Reyes claimed “this project focused more on the potential impacts versus taking a pro or anti GMO stand,” it was awarded to anti-GMO/anti-pesticide activist Phoebe Eng..

Eng intends to partner with Po’ai Wai Ola, an organization that recently brought an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging a state land lease to a Kauai seed company and has contested water use by seed companies.

Eng plans to conduct a public outreach campaign to “provide opportunities for west Kauai residents to learn about and protect against impacts to water quality and public health due to toxic pesticide use by large agricultural companies working in the local area,” according to the grant summary.

Reyes downplayed concerns about the potential for bias and conflict of interest in the outreach campaign. But she acknowledged the EPA will not vet any of the materials disseminated through the grant, even though Eng has no formal training in pesticides and has taken strident anti-GMO and anti-pesticide stances….

read … Anti-GMO Activists are Paid Agents of President Donald J Trump

With Republican as President, Usual Suspects Suddenly Begin Crying about Depleted Uranium Again

HTH: Federal regulators will give parts of Pohakuloa Training Area’s radiation monitoring plan another look in response to a petition from a Hawaii Island resident.

A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency review board agreed last month to review some of the concerns raised by retired geologist Michael Reimer, including frequency of sediment sampling, number of sediment sampling sites and data evaluation methods for depleted uranium.

Reimer, of Kailua-Kona, also asked for continued air monitoring and soil sampling, though they will not be part of the NRC’s review because those steps were previously considered….

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rejected petitions requesting a hearing from four other residents in June because it determined they didn’t have standing or submitted an admissible contention….. 

(These clowns were silent for 8 years under Obama.)

Reimer, who said his background is in nuclear geology, said sampling only in an intermittent stream bed is a “rather absurd way to look at migration of DU.”

(LOL!  There is no such thing as ‘nuclear geography’.  Look it up.)

Flashback to Bush Years: Bananas More Radioactive than Depleted Uranium

read … Radiation concerns at Pohakuloa revisited: Feds to review issues raised by Kona resident

Na Wai Eha stream flow standards proposed

MN: The in-stream flow standard for Maui’s Waihee River, one of the largest perennial rivers in the state, would increase by 4 million gallons per day from 10 to 14 mgd downstream of the Spreckels Ditch, according to a proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and decision and order by Lawrence Miike, contested hearings officer for the state Commission on Water Resource Management.

The stream flow standard for the Wailuku River — above its 780-foot elevation — would remain the same, a median flow of 25 mgd. Downstream, the river’s flow would be 10 mgd just below the Wailuku Water Co. diversion above the Iao-Waikapu and Iao-Maniania ditches and 5 mgd at the mouth of the stream.

In-stream standards for the other two Na Wai Eha streams — the Waikapu and Waiehu streams — would remain unchanged, under Miike’s Nov. 1 proposal.

Parties with standing in the water commission’s contested case proceeding have until Jan. 5 to file written exceptions to Miike’s findings. Later, the commission will hold a public hearing on Maui, hear oral arguments and make a ruling.

MN: Tour of East Maui Irrigation ditch system draws just 1 commissioner

read … Na Wai Eha stream flow standards proposed

Ernie Martin to Run for Congress CD1

SA: Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin is joining the growing field of local political figures who plan to run in the Democratic primary next year for the congressional seat representing urban Honolulu….

The 1st Congressional District seat representing urban Honolulu is being vacated by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who announced earlier this year she plans to run for governor in 2018.

Former state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, (D, Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa), and state Rep. Kaniela Ing, (D, South Maui) have also said they plan to run for the urban Honolulu congressional seat.

State Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D, Mili­lani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres) has said she is also considering running for the same seat…

read … Another Flea Joins the Circus

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