Four Months Later no Rats on Lehua Island
DTL/WCIT: It Sure Does Pay off to Keep a Senator and BLNR Member on the Payroll
SA: A legislator as well as a member of the Board of Land and Natural Resources have ties to the public relations firm hired by the state to help determine redevelopment of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.
DTL Hawaii, a self-billed “Hawaiian strategy studio,” where state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Mililani Mauka) is vice president for communications and a 10 percent owner, received $99,885 from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) for outreach services on the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor redevelopment.
Kirra Downing, daughter of Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) member Keone Downing, joined DTL’s payroll in September 2015 and serves as communications director.
DTL Hawaii is an offshoot of Rob Iopa’s firm WCIT Architecture, where Dela Cruz began working as communications director in July 2011, midway through his first year as a state senator and just after his nearly eight-year stint on the Honolulu City Council, which ended in November 2010.
WCIT’s portfolio, which is listed on its website, includes several large government projects including the Kewalo Harbor redevelopment, Blaisdell redevelopment, the Ala Moana Beach Park master plan and the Honolulu rail project. Some of its other major commercial projects include Kakaako Makai, Salt at Our Kakaako, Turtle Bay Resort, Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian hotel, Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Top of Waikiki.
Dela Cruz transitioned from WCIT to DTL in January 2015. According to his financial disclosures to the state Ethics Commission, Dela Cruz is paid between $50,000 and $100,000 annually for his work as DTL’s vice president for communications. He also is compensated between $10,000 and $25,000 annually for his minority ownership stake in DTL, the form said.
Despite his compensation, Dela Cruz described his role at DTL as part time and denied being involved in the company’s day-to-day operations.
“Did you not hear? I’m now the Ways and Means chair. I’m busy (uh … getting more contracts for DTL/WCIT … yeah) at the Capitol,” he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Dec. 19….
…several members of Hawaii’s planning, engineering and development industries who spoke on condition of anonymity said DTL has enjoyed a swift growth trajectory. At the same time, they point out that Dela Cruz’s influence also has steadily grown at the Senate. He became chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the spring after the ouster of Sen. Jill Tokuda (D, Kailua-Kaneohe). There Dela Cruz has a pivotal say in all measures dealing with appropriations and taxes….
Community skepticism about the future of the public recreational area already had been heightened since the state broadened the harbor’s redevelopment options through Act 197 and HRS 171-6(19), making it possible for a public-private partnership to build virtually anything that is allowed in densely populated Waikiki.
“Way back then I couldn’t figure out why Donovan Dela Cruz, a senator from Wahiawa, would be so interested in our harbor,” said Ilikai resident Nancy Mueting. “Just recently I learned that he’s involved with DTL. It certainly looks like he’s using the bill to promote his own company.”…
LINK: Ala Wai Corruption
read … Conflicts arise over harbor contract
13,000 People Flee Hawaii High Cost of Living
SA: …The good news is that the jobless rate in this state has hit a record low, 2 percent. But every silver lining comes with a dark cloud. Here it’s the fact that what was already virtually full employment in Hawaii has not lured everyone back into the job-seeking mode. The full count of the working and those seeking work has fallen.
And there’s this: Some 13,000 Hawaii people this year have moved to the mainland, likely due to the high cost of living….
People: See Barack Obama Get Serenaded by Christmas Carolers in Hawaii
read … 13,000
Thanks to Obama, Health insurance premiums on the rise (again)
SA: …More than 320,000 Hawaii workers and individuals will pay higher health insurance premiums starting Monday.
Roughly 150,000 Hawaii Medical Service Association members covered by large employers will see an average 9.3 percent rate hike, while about 15,000 others enrolled through small businesses will pay 11.2 percent more. Another 4,000 individual plan members will see premiums rise by an average 16.9 percent.
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii — both an insurer and medical provider — will boost premiums by 6.4 percent for 140,390 members covered by large employers and by an average 5.9 percent for 19,400 workers covered by small businesses….
Separately, about 34,000 individuals will see premiums jump 19.8 percent for HMSA and 24.1 percent for Kaiser’s “Obamacare” health plans….
read … Health insurance premiums on the rise
More Wage Hikes--Tax cuts benefit Hawaii residents
SA: Already companies like Boeing, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Comcast and Fifth Third Bank have decided to give their employees bonuses — some as much as $1,000 — because of the bill. More jobs will be created as businesses bring work back to the U.S.
Of course, “Scrooge” Democrats like U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz are opposed to the bill because it goes against their agenda of raise taxes, raise taxes and raise even more taxes.
Those of us who live in Hawaii certainly know how that works. Their position will be pretty hard to sell once we start receiving increased pay in February due to this bill. Hirono, Schatz and the rest of the Democrats need to open their eyes and realize that some of the things that Trump does are actually good for the country.
HB: Most Hawaii Small Business Owners Will Save on Taxes
SA: Central Pacific Bank to give $1,000 bonuses, increase minimum wage to $15.25
read … Tax cuts will benefit Hawaii residents
Enviros Angered by Local Food! More Tuna For Hawaii Fishing Boats In 2018
CB: An international commission slightly expanded catch limits for U.S. longliners based in Honolulu but the industry is still hoping for more….
CB: PEW Eco-Activist is Against Local Food for Hawaii
read … Great News
Social Workers Who Aid The Homeless Often Need Help Themselves
CB: …An outreach worker with an associate degree at Kalihi-Palama Health Center makes between $13 and $16 per hour, or $27,000 to $33,280 annually, said Darrin Sato, the agency’s chief operating officer.
The health center has five to seven positions open for homeless-related work, in part because the low pay makes it hard to attract professionals to the field, Sato said.
The agency can offer employees with a bachelor’s degree between $30,000 and $45,000 and salary ranges increase to the high $30,000’s to low $60,000 range for employees with master’s degrees in social work, Sato said….
read … Social Workers Who Aid The Homeless Often Need Help Themselves