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Thursday, December 21, 2017
December 21, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:52 PM :: 1940 Views

Census: Hawaii One of only Eight States to Lose Population

Tupola: Hawaii Families Will Benefit from Tax Cut

Caldwell: Affordable Housing is a Monster Which Must be Killed

Bloomberg: Jones Act political contributions and lobbying

Finalists Named for UH Board of Regents

UH Hilo chancellor search begins

Tax Cut Makes Hawaii Democrats Bitter, Spiteful

HTH: …“When you look at the broad position as opposed to the narrow ones, it’s overall going to be helpful in that it will allow the middle class to take home more money,” said Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii. “And hopefully it will stimulate the economy. What kind of effect (it will have) we don’t know until we see in two or three years what’s actually happened.”

State Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, agreed with Yamachika that GOP projections of economic growth remain largely speculative, but that’s where the consensus ended.

“This is as bad and cynical and mean-spirited a bill as I’ve ever seen,” Green said. “Whoever says that this is good for Hawaii families should turn in their credentials. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”….

Mean-spirited cynicism:

read … Cynical LOL!

Hawaii regulators redirect funds of state's troubled $150M clean energy loan program

PBN:  …Hawaii regulators have dealt a further blow to the state’s already troubled $150 million clean energy loan program.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission issued an order in late October, which redirects the money generated from the repayment of loans issued by the Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, program, effectively reducing the loan amount available to residential and commercial customers.

In the order, which was issued on Oct. 26, the PUC said GEMS program loan repayments “shall be applied toward the replenishment of the reduced Public Benefits Fee collections before the payment of GEMS Program administrative costs.”

Due to the PUC decision, the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, a division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the administrator of GEMS, is forced to reserve administrative costs for 20 years in advance, which corresponds to the loan repayment terms.

“Initially, the PUC said cover your expenses first and then anything extra pay back to the public benefits fund. But now everything that comes back goes to the public benefits fund,” HGIA Executive Director Gwen Yamamoto-Lau told Pacific Business News.

With administrative costs of $1 million annually, HGIA will set aside over $20 million of the available loan funds to cover administration and servicing costs. The amount will be adjusted based on actuals going forward, she said.

The GEMS program was first conceived in 2013, when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1087, the “Green Infrastructure” bill….

read …, Troubled GEMS

Billionaire Solidarity: Omidyar Operatives Push Tax Credits for Elon Musk

PBN: …Kyle Datta, general partner at Ulupono Initiative, told Pacific Business News the Honolulu-based investment firm will push for the replacement of the state's solar tax credit with an energy storage tax credit during the 2018 legislative session, which starts on Jan. 17.

During the 2017 legislative session, Ulupono supported Senate Bill 665. The bill – introduced by Sens. Lorraine Inouye, Donovan Dela Cruz, Kaialii Kahele and Maile Shimabukuro – called for the replacement of the current renewable energy technology systems tax credit with tax credits for solar or wind energy property and energy storage property….

read … Crony Capitalism

Caldwell’s Repaving Project Exposed as Fraud

CB:  …It remains unclear whether Honolulu taxpayers will get as much life out of that half-billion-dollar repaving investment as they could because of a limited budget for pavement preservation.

While the city has surged in repaving, it has lagged in mapping out the full maintenance needs across its entire 3,500-lane-mile street grid to seal out water, block the sun and preserve pavement life.

And with the limited dollars, it’s not certain when that evaluation will be finished.

So far, none of the nearly 1,800 lane-miles repaved in the last five years have been treated with slurry seal, seal coat or other materials routinely used in other cities to extend the life of their roads, officials say. Such treatments often get applied within several years of repaving to be most effective.

“The earlier the better,” said Larry Galehouse, founder and director-emeritus of the Michigan State University-based National Center for Pavement Preservation. “You want to put these treatments down fairly soon after a road is paved.”

City officials still don’t have a grasp on which of the repaved streets qualify for crack seal, slurry seal or seal coat, or how often they should be treated.

“That’s a question that we can’t answer yet,” Department of Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura said Monday…..

read … Fake Feel Good Crap

Honolulu City Council: Rail Blocked Beyond Ala Moana?

HPR: …The contract award to build the 4.3-mile guideway from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center is more than a year away.   But, the Honolulu City Council is considering a transit oriented development plan for Ala Moana and want to know if the future unfunded extension to U-H Manoa is being factored in.  Councilmember Ikaika Anderson is chair of the Planning Committee.

“I would hate to reach Ala Moana Center and have a future Council and a future Mayor decide to pivot to UH Manoa and because of the design of the Ala Moana station and/or what crops up around that area, the Ala Moana station being unusable to reach UH Manoa, and then, having to construct an entirely different station and different line, which is gonna make everybody look like a bunch of Lolos.”

Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, a longtime critic of the rail project, says the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation – HART -- has not provided her with an update.

“The plan that was touted and shown for many years was the rail would go down Kona Street.  And, I believe at the last hearing on this Ala Moana TOD, we were told that it would go down Kapi’olani from the Ala Moana station.  So that’s why I want to keep wanting to see the drawings.”…

read … Lolos

PUC Opens Intervention Window in Hawaii Gas Proceeding

IM: …Hawai`i Gas started importing fracked LNG in 2014. A member of the Hawai`i Gas Board of Directors, Colleen Hanabusa, recently held a climate change talk story, and is running for Governor.

Hawai`i Gas filed for a rate increase in 2017. The Public Utilities Commission issued a procedural order on Monday, December 18, 2017. Motions to intervene or to participate must be filed by January 2, 2018.

The Hawai`i Supreme Court ruled in December 2017, that Hawaii residents can sue to defend their rights to a “clean and healthful” environment under the Hawaii Constitution, Article XI, Section 9. ….

Opposition to the importation of LNG has been raised in Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceedings by Life of the Land, Sierra Club, and Blue Planet Foundation. More recently, Progressive Movement Hawai`i and 350.org activists Dave Mulinix and Sherry Pollack are seeking a ban on importing LNG. 

Related: Full Text--Hawaii Supreme Court Rules 3-2: Anybody Can Now Sue Anybody for Dirtying the Environment

read … PUC Opens Intervention Window in Hawaii Gas Proceeding

Poor Door: Social Engineering Trumps Affordable Housing (again)

SA: Even before the developers of the ProsPac Tower improved the design to create greater inclusivity in the building with shared entrances, the project represented a significant and important advancement in affordable housing and transit-oriented development.

Nineteen percent of the units at the Keeaumoku-area ProsPac Tower will be affordable to moderate-income tenants at 80 percent or below of the area median income, and they will be privately financed, without the use of scarce government subsidies. That is exceptional and should be lauded.

Honolulu has a history of separating residents by income level from building to building and from one neighborhood to another. Honolulu is home to the state’s wealthiest neighborhoods, but it also has the highest number of census tracts where over 30 percent of people live in poverty. The ProsPac project challenges these existing norms by bringing moderate- and high-income earners not just into the same neighborhood, but under the same roof…..

Meanwhile: Census: Hawaii One of only Eight States to Lose Population

read … Poor Door

Homeless Lunatic Attacks Kumu Hula outside Class

KHON: …Harriet Morris has been taking hula with McKeague for the past 25 years at Pauahi Recreation Center. She said the homeless usually don’t cause trouble, but last week was different.

“That day was really terrifying because the guy was really aggressive and really violent,” she recalled. “I heard him ranting and raving outside and using profanity, so I called Jack and said there’s a guy out there swearing. He said, well okay, just wait and we’ll all go out together.”

McKeague stood in front of the doorway leading into Pauahi Recreation Center and explained what happened.

“He was actually sitting in this area,” McKeague said, gesturing toward the ground covered in cardboard in front of the glass door. “He had all his belongings scattered over here, so we couldn’t open the door.”

McKeague said the man refused to move his belongings, so he opened the door, pushing some of the man’s things to the side. That’s when McKeague said the man attacked him.

“He grabbed me. He put me in the headlock and he tried to gouge my right eye out, but I pushed him on the street, away from my seniors, because I didn’t want them to get hurt,” McKeague said.

“Next thing I knew, Jack was on the road with him,” Morris said. “He was on top of Jack, so we tried to pull the guy off.”

Police were called and the man was arrested….

HNN: Kauai county to close community parks overnight to curb suspicious activity

read … Kumu hula attacked in Chinatown while trying to keep elderly students safe

In Kakaako, the chronically homeless will now get a warning with that offer of help

HNN: Dogs were tied to sign posts while tents and other makeshift shelters lined the border of Mother Waldron Park on Wednesday.

Living inside are the same 70 or so people who have been bouncing around Kakaako for years — illegally camping in driveways, parks and sidewalks.

This organized group of squatters are good at outsmarting the system, experts say. They also have a reputation for refusing help.

In an attempt to get more takers, outreach workers are now teaming up with officers from a new unit called HELP Honolulu.

Going forward, offers of a bed at a shelter are followed by a warning.

"They will go out and gain the trust and work with these groups of homeless people and try to get them the help they need," said HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy. "It's followed up by enforcement so they know that there are consequences to their actions."

Police and city officials say the most common complaints about the pop-up camps are blocked sidewalks, fights, dangerous animals and harassment of people passing by.

HPD confirms officers will be back to Mother Waldron this week to enforce park rules: Things like camping, shopping carts and staying after park hours.

"We try to gain compliance by first asking. We always try that. But if they don't do it there is a consequence. We enforce that by issuing citations and in some cases making an arrest," McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, the city says it will sweep the sidewalks in the area on a daily basis….

SA: “This is the most service-resistant group of hangers-on that came from Kakaako. These folks absolutely want to be living this lifestyle. Sometimes they know the jurisdictional boundaries better than we do.”

read … In Kakaako, the chronically homeless will now get a warning with that offer of help

Saipan: The Island Where Chinese Mothers Deliver American Babies

WSJ: Women looking to give birth to U.S. citizens have found a loophole in the Pacific on the island of Saipan….

read … The Wall Street Journal

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