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Sunday, May 27, 2018
May 27, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:55 PM :: 1271 Views

New Lava Flows Towards Geothermal Plant

We Can’t See It or Touch It, But We Can Tax It!

Memorial Day Events

Volcano Could Save Ige by Turning him into Harry Kim

SA: …For Nanawale Estates resident Frankie Stapleton, Ige’s actions during the eruption made all the difference. She said that at the start of the year, she had no intention of voting for Ige but since then has become a supporter.

Stapleton, 73, lives two miles from the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant that shut down when the eruption broke out May 3. She said she was worried there could be a pentane explosion or uncontrolled blowout of a geothermal well at the plant.

“I have totally changed my opinion about voting for him,” she said. “I am so grateful for him stepping up to the plate with (Mayor) Harry Kim and ordering PGV to shut down those wells and to get that pentane out of there — so grateful that I will do everything I can to help him get re-elected.”…

While Kim is frequently at Civil Defense headquarters leading the response to the lava flow, he been less visible to the public during this eruption than in previous disasters. The mayor, 78, suffered his fifth heart attack shortly before the eruption began and announced last week that he had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

Kim was Hawaii island civil defense administrator for decades, and his role as a calm, reassuring leader in times of trouble was the foundation of the popularity that allowed him to be elected mayor three times. Ige, who by all accounts is deeply involved in the response to the eruption, is arguably stepping into that space.

Ige has been to Hawaii island about a half dozen times since the eruption started, appeared at another community meeting in Pahoa on Tuesday and planned to attend today’s Pahoa High School graduation. He traveled to Kauai on Thursday to observe the flood recovery effort and visited Hanalei Elementary School.

One political observer described the Kauai flooding in April and the devastating eruption on Hawaii island as “mulligans” for Ige, referring to a golf term for a do-over shot….

SA: Dramatic lava eruption draws attention from flood-ravaged Kauai

read … Eruption offers Ige potential political redemption

Ige, Chin Exploit Democrat Hatred of President Donald J Trump 

SA: …A dispute among delegates over the timing of today’s election for the state party chairman caused a delay in adopting the official agenda for the convention, and Democratic National Committeeman Bart Dame was interrupted briefly by a critic who shouted at him from the back of the Hilton Waikoloa convention center.

But Dame, a prominent Hawaii supporter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, continued by telling his fellow party members there is now a consensus in the Democratic National Committee to eliminate “super delegates.”…

Party Chairman Tim Vandeveer said more than 500 delegates are attending the convention, which he said is the first state convention on a neighbor island since the 1988 party gathering on Maui….

Ige reminded the audience that “we have fought against the hateful and hurtful policies of the Trump administration.”

Lt. Gov. Doug Chin embellished on the anti-Trump theme by gleefully reminding listeners of his lawsuits against the president and his appointees. Chin said Hawaii’s citizens care deeply about diversity and equality, which is why, while serving as state attorney general, he sued Trump over immigration restrictions that targeted Muslims.

“But I’m not just talking President Trump, folks,” Chin told the delegates. “I’ve also sued Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.”…

Hirono said the Democrats “are confronted with a president who acts more like a dictator than a democratic leader.”….

The convention continues today, when delegates will elect a party chairman for the next two years….

CB: Ige Takes Shots At Trump To Fire Up Audience At Democratic Convention

read … Democrats roast Trump at state convention

Legislature ends in Self-Congratulatory Spectacle

Shapiro: >> The 2018 Legislature adjourned in a burst of self-congratulation, and members of the House and Senate joined hands to sing “Hawaii Aloha.” Witnesses to the spectacle could only say, “Hawaii, OMG.”

>> Legislators held a record 77 political fundraisers during the session, charging lobbyists as much as $6,000 per ticket, according to Civil Beat. There are some things money can’t buy; the Hawaii Legislature isn’t one of them.

>> Senate President Ron Kouchi praised fellow lawmakers for their boldness in 2018 and compared them to superheroes. Like the Incredible Hulk, they embrace the color green and destroy everything in their path leaping from fundraiser to fundraiser.

read … Lawmakers reap praise and profits as session ends

Kouchi: Legislature Focused on Parakeets, Mud, and Cesspools

KGI: …Morikawa said many good bills were passed. Those included one aimed at reducing the population of the rose-ringed parakeet….“We set the bar really high this year,” she said….

Nakamura said she understands it will be at least another two to three months for two lanes to open up.

Morikawa said one reason the project is taking so long is the state is trying to stabilize the mountainside.

“With another rain, more mud comes down,” she said. “They have to stabilize the mountains before they improve the roads going into Haena.”

For Morikawa, a big concern is dealing with cesspools in the area and accessing public assistance on private property to replace them. The flooding unearthed cesspools on the North Shore and sent sewage into the ocean and streams.

The Legislature passed a bill that establishes a Cesspool Working Group to develop a comprehensive plan for the conversion of all statewide cesspools by 2050. There are about 270 cesspools in Hanalei.

“Definitely will not be approval of any more cesspools in that area,” she said.

Kouchi said the highway could open two roads in late July. But the rebuilding efforts have to be completed to prevent further damage next time a storm hits.

“Everything is shut down for now to do it right,” he said.

Regarding the cesspools, he said if public money can’t be used, perhaps a deal could be worked out so homeowners could make monthly payments on new septic tank systems, anaerobic treatment systems, or sewer connections, and avoid a big one-time hit, which could run in the $15,000 range…..

Larry LaSota asked if the road in front of Coco Palms couldn’t be improved sooner, rather than later. Repairs desperately needed, he said, because the roadway is full of potholes, dips and cracks….

read … ‘We set the bar really high’

State’s hunger for TAT is out of control

MN: …Legislation proposed this past session by Maui County evolved into Senate Bill 2868, which, once signed into law by the governor, will likely generate revenue in excess of $70 million next year. Because these TAT payments were new revenue, our bill included a provision that the funds would be added to the $103 million received by the counties. That provision did not survive.

….With SB 648, the House kept its promise by allocating about $36 million in new funds to Neighbor Island counties. Unfortunately, the Senate did not agree. The state’s share of the revenue generated by SB 2868 will increase by the entire $70 million annual amount while the counties will receive no added benefit.

So, here is the scorecard. With the 1 percent increase for the rail and the new tax from SB 2868, Maui’s visitors will be generating about $207 million in TAT annually, up $60 million from 2017. But Maui will still get back the same $23.5 million, or just 11 percent of what we will generate. The other Neighbor Islands will receive about 20 percent of the TAT they will generate, while Oahu will get back 41 percent of the TAT it will generate….

read … State’s hunger for TAT is out of control

Kakaako: 12 More Bums Finally Agree to Accept Shelter

SA: …Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, said social service outreach workers from Kalihi-Palama Health Center and his staff on Friday placed five people from Mother Waldron into the city’s Hale Mauliola homeless navigation center on Sand Island, which accepts pets. Another person from Mother Waldron has agreed to move into the Waianae Civic Center homeless shelter, Morishige said.

Six more homeless people have said they also would be willing to move off the street Tuesday morning, when the city closes the park until July 6, he said during an interview Saturday.

“You just have to continue the consistent effort,” said Morishige. “Every time outreach providers go out, there’s a small number of people who accept shelter, who accept services. Over time, if you continue the efforts, the numbers are going down. It’s not clearly visible, but there is a reduction.”

Several of the 40 or so homeless people living in and around Mother Waldron Park on Saturday — most of them veterans of the street — told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser they’re still unwilling to accept the ongoing offers of shelter space and other assistance….

“I understand the theory about compassionate disruption where you want to make it a little bit more uncomfortable for people to choose this lifestyle and, hopefully, encourage them to take some other avenues that might be available to get out of homelessness,” Mick said. “But I’d say, empirically, the results have been mixed.”….

read … Need Vagrancy Laws

3 TSA whistleblowers in Hawaii who got reassigned awarded $1M settlement

HNN:  Three Transportation Security Administration employees in Hawaii who were abruptly reassigned to mainland positions have been awarded a total of $1 million dollars by a federal investigative agency.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said the TSA retaliated against the three over concerns regarding security and management problems at Hawaii airports.

Heather Callaghan Chuck was deputy director in charge of operations in Honolulu, while lifelong Kauai resident Sharlene Mata was in charge of neighbor island airports. The two found 15 types of security vulnerabilities and management deficiencies at Hawaii airports when they took over in early 2014.

"They weren't un-fixable, they were fixable. And quite frankly, readily fixable," said Callaghan Chuck. "And when we started reporting those, then all of a sudden we started getting negative repercussions from management instead of support.

A third TSA employee, Frank Abreu, also ran afoul of management.

"He stood up when the manager said he wanted Frank to make a complaint that the two women had been disrespectful to the senior manager, and he said he wouldn't because it wasn't true," said Elbridge Smith, attorney for Callaghan Chuck and Mata.

The TSA then abruptly reassigned all three on one business day's notice.

"We were literally called into a conference room one day, and we were told that within one business day, we would be relocating to three separate locations," Callaghan Chuck recalled. "One was sent to Burbank, California -- Frank was -- Shar was sent to Seattle, Washington, and I was sent to Los Angeles." ….

read … 3 TSA whistleblowers in Hawaii who got reassigned awarded $1M settlement

UH Maui Apartments Sit Vacant for 20 Years

MN: …Located on the corner of Wahinepio and Kaahumanu avenues in Kahului, the dorms were built in 1981 and have been vacant for at least 20 years, Reimann said. The 8.8-acre property includes three residential buildings, each with four apartment units; a multipurpose building with laundry, mail and recreation rooms; and a parking lot with 17 stalls. Each apartment unit is about 800 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath….

The first option, renovation, would cost about $300 per square foot and would require gutting and rebuilding the structures…..

read … A Typical Hawaii Government Story

Volcano News:

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