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Thursday, June 21, 2018
June 21, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:31 PM :: 1935 Views

Caldwell: Loosen Taxi Regs for Everybody

Would Pele Play Favorites?

More Than 8 Cents of Each State Revenue Dollar Goes to Medicaid

UHERO: Wind and Solar will Drive up Electric Rates a Lot More

Supreme Court Legalizes Internet Sales Tax

Rep. Kaniela Ing fined more than $15K for campaign spending violations

SA: … The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission fined Hawaii Rep. Kaniela Ing more than $15,000 today for filing 23 false reports detailing his campaign contributions and expenditures dating back to 2011, using campaign funds to cover personal expenses and other violations of Hawaii campaign spending laws.

Commission staff said that all 23 reports that Ing filed between 2011 – 2016 were incorrect. Ing was also found to have used campaign funds to cover $2,125 in rent payments for residences on Oahu and Maui, and another $219 to make a credit card payment on his domestic partner’s credit card account. Ing, who represents south Maui, also deposited a campaign check worth $2,000 into his personal checking account — money that he never reported on his campaign spending reports. Those funds exceeded limits on campaign contributions and Ing has been ordered to return the money….

(Please take a moment to laugh.)

Ing avoided having the case referred for criminal prosecution, something Commissioner Gregory Shoda pushed for.

“In the past, we have had other cases where people have made maybe two incorrect reports and commissioners found flagrant violations of the law,” he said. “In this case, we have ‘upteen’ reports — none of which were correct.”

Shoda said that it would be unfair not to also refer Ing’s case for prosecution.

“The level or the number of violations is astounding basically,” said Shoda. “Every single report is incorrect.”

However, other commissioners were reluctant to go that far, noting the potentially fatal consequences for Ing’s political career.  (Is that their job? – to preserve Ing’s ‘political career’?????)

The complaint against Ing included 31 counts. Commission staff found that Ing failed to disclose $87,559.89 in expenditures, or about 62 percent of the total amount of spending reflected in Ing’s bank statements, which staff subpoenaed. Only one report has since been correctly amended, staff said. Ing was also found to have failed to disclose $28,915.72 in contributions. The commission is giving him 120 days to correct all inaccuracies in his reports….

Best Comment: “Glad that we caught this incompetent thief. Ironically, he was always so self-righteous and arrogant. All the while he was ripping off the public.”

(If you see him fixing cars, check to see if he has a real mechanic’s license.)

Kaniela Ing: The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving

read … Rep. Kaniela Ing fined more than $15K for campaign spending violations

Lava from Kilauea volcano wipes out nearly $375M in Hawaii real estate market value

PBN: …The current eruption of Kilauea volcano has destroyed or damaged nearly 600 homes and 3,000 properties on Hawaii’s Big Island, and county real property tax officials have zeroed out nearly $375 million in market value of the affected real estate.

The number of homes confirmed destroyed by the lava flow since the eruption began in the Leilani Estates subdivision on May 3 reached 598 this week, according to Lisa Miura, County of Hawaii real property administrator. Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim previously estimated that number could be as high as 700.

The total number of parcels destroyed, damaged or made inaccessible by the lava — which include the 598 homes ­— numbered 2,930 this week, with 2,300 of those located in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens and 630 located in the area stretching from Lanipuna Gardens to Kapoho, Miura said.

Those properties have been valued at $0 for the 2018 property tax year, which starts July 1, and real property tax has been prorated for the current year, even for the homes in the section of Leilani Estates that is not under a mandatory evacuation order, Miura said. The total market value lost is more than $371.6 million — $203.6 million in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens and $168 million for the area stretching to what was Vacationland and Kapoho, she said….

read … Lava from Kilauea volcano wipes out nearly $375M in Hawaii real estate market value

Treat Hawaii’s Housing Shortage Like The Disaster It Is

CB: …Here is a real life, very recent Hawaii example of successful disaster-driven housing.  It involves Kahauiki Village on Nimitz Highway for working homeless families, but the lessons apply to affordable housing in general.

It began as an idea of Duane Kurisu, a successful local entrepreneur, who took the lead in making the project happen. Before you read his description of the process, think of the way government typically works here. Kurisu wrote:

We set up an informal partnership with key members of the city and county administration and continued to meet regularly to help navigate bureaucracy, interpret building code issues and state and city laws on the fly, and coordinate our responsibilities. This team enabled the design/build process to move so quickly that we sometimes had to ask the city to slow down!

Asking the city to slow down. I’ll give any of you a free month’s rail ridership if you can say that about any other government project.

There were all kinds of disaster management-like problem solving and workarounds. The state leased the land for the project for virtually nothing. The project used Ige’s emergency declaration, allowing for building certain housing without obtaining building codes.

The city agreed to put in water and sewer connections, as well as a new bus stop….

read … Treat Hawaii’s Housing Shortage Like The Disaster It Is

Here’s The Spending That Got OHA Incumbents In Trouble

CB: …A state audit said Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees used their $22,200 per year personal allowances for questionable purposes….

Related: OHA Trustee Candidates Aila and Kiaaina ‘Instrumental’ in OHA’s Biggest Boondoggle

read … Here’s The Spending That Got OHA Incumbents In Trouble

A fight over royal property: who owns the heiress' home, the family or her previous employees?

KITV: …Thongbay cooked and cleaned for Kawananakoa for 32 years. Her husband, Mark served as chauffeur for close to two decades. Their daughters worked for her too.

Thongbay says the princess offered to buy her a home after she told her they were moving to Las Vegas, and were unable to purchase a home in Hawaii.

"She said, no, you stay me!" said Thongbay.

That is when the family says Kawananakoa asked them to look for a property.  They moved in in June of 2016.  Photos were taken at the housewarming that both the princess and her wife attended.

But they say this past February the tables turned when legal battles over Kawananakoa's more than $200 million trust fund heated up.

"I know that she's being told what to do because if she was herself, she would not want our family to just be out of the house and just kick us to the curb basically," said former main Samantha Michel.
Earlier this year, the family was terminated from their positions. They believe it was a result of them giving statements about the princess' wife, Gail Worth, allegedly abusing the 92-year-old.  Mark says he witnessed the abuse while driving the couple home.

"Gail was asking her to put the names on her account when she's drunk.  But she said no! It's why she was abused.  Pinching on arm and on the leg. From Waikiki up to Nu'uanu," said former chauffeur Mark Smart….

Related: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … A fight over royal property: who owns the heiress' home, the family or her previous employees?

Church breaks ground on village of micro-homes for lava evacuees

HNN: While government is still talking about how to house people displaced by the eruption, a Big Island church has already broken ground on a new village for evacuees.

And it could be move-in ready by early August.

Over the past week, a lush one-acre lot off Kaloli Drive has undergone a transformation. All of the vegetation has been removed and the property was leveled.

Pastor Dion Maeda, of Connect Point Church, said the progress is a product of teamwork. Several Hawaii Island churches put out a call to their congregations and in a single Sunday managed to raise enough money to purchase 10, 120-square-foot micro-homes.

Several Hawaii companies have also donated their supplies and services to get the project off the ground….

On Tuesday, the county said it knew of at least 477 eruption evacuees in need of housing….

"It's a safe place where they can lock up their things and close the door when they leave," said Maeda.

He expects to get county approval for the project any day now so foundation work can start this weekend.

Although the homes are paid for, some of the infrastructure is not. Money is needed for utilities as well as things like restrooms and showers, a community kitchen and a place to do laundry.

"Our hope is to raise at least another $25,000 to complete this project," said Maeda….

read … Church breaks ground on village of micro-homes for lava evacuees

OIP hits back at Civil Beat, again.

ILind: …In a letter sent to at least some legislators this week, the director of the state Office of Information Practices blasted candidate interviews and questions asked of gubernatorial candidates by Civil Beat, saying they omitted “key facts” about the agency’s past performance.

OIP disputed statements in a June 11 Civil Beat story which reported the candidates views on state public information policies, and requested that Civil Beat publish a reply. The letter explaining its position was apparently sent to legislators after the OIP statement failed to appear on Civil Beat’s website.

The letter is just the latest round in a long-simmering dispute between OIP and both Civil Beat and its nonprofit affiliate, the Civil Beat Law Center.

Back on February 21, 2018, OIP published a post titled “KEEPING ‘EM HONEST – THE FACTS MATTER.

The agency accused CB and the CB Law Center of using “flawed methodology and inaccurate comparisons” in their analysis of OIP’s record of responding to public information requests….

PDF: OIP Letter to Legislators

read … OIP hits back at Civil Beat, again.

Hawaii Recycling is a Feel Good Exercise Which Wastes massive Amounts of Energy and Money

GB: …When it comes to recycling on Oahu, "away" is a journey of thousands of miles by ship to the port of Oakland, where the island’s recyclables are processed and shipped to China or Southeast Asia. But as global markets for buying and selling recyclables crumble due in large part to China’s new import policies, Honolulu is pushing to divert its plastic bottles and paper products to the H-POWER facility along with the rest of its solid waste, and overturn the city’s recycling mandate in the process.

"At the risk of getting shot, I don’t want to recycle on the island. It does not make financial or economic sense," Lori Kahikina, Honolulu’s director of the Department of Environmental Services, said. "I know you feel good when you put your recyclables in the blue bin, but people don’t understand that we don’t have a facility here to process the recycled materials, so everything is shipped to the mainland. We’re kind of stuck."

Not only is shipping recyclables across the Pacific financially and environmentally burdensome, but the city also sees recycling as untapped profit. The city has a 20-year "put-or-pay" contract with Covanta, the company that manages H-POWER, which requires Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services to provide 800,000 tons of MSW annually, or pay pay a steep penalty for any lost revenue from energy sales. From 2013 to 2016, the city had to pay Covanta over $6.2 million, according to an audit (PDF) of the city’s recycling program released in October.

Honolulu could save $7 million in disposal costs and generate $29.5 million in revenue by diverting its plastic and paper recycling to the H-POWER facility. The city also has a profit-sharing arrangement with Covanta for energy sold to HECO, which some see as a perverse incentive to produce more waste rather than less. For Kahikina, recycling doesn’t pencil out, and the city sees incineration as an integrated solution to a multifaceted problem.

But Honolulu’s proposed solution is not without critics. Sierra Club’s Oahu chapter opposes the incineration of recycling due to… (insert excuses here)

read … Feel Good

Emergency permitting for Hanalei Flood Victims

KGI: …Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. signed Bill 2713 into law on Tuesday.

The emergency ordinance adopted by the Kaua‘i County Council on June 6 provides for an expedited permitting process for those residences damaged in April’s historic flooding across the island. It will only be in effect for 60 days; however, it lays the groundwork for more permanent regulations the administration will transmit to the council in the near future….

This emergency ordinance allows those who have structures classified during this past tax year as Homestead, Residential, or Agricultural to apply for expedited permitting qualification and permitting fee waivers.

The Planning Department is the lead agency for this expedited permitting qualification, and will be stationing field offices near each of the disaster areas, as follows:

• Tonight, at Hale Halawai from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;

• Friday, June 22, at Hanalei Colony Resort in Wainiha from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m….

read … Carvalho signs emergency permitting bill

Water Diversions from Ag Land Will Lead to Massive Condo Developments in Central Maui

MN: …In 2001, the group filed a petition to amend the flow standards of more than two dozen East Maui streams that A&B had been diverting since the 1870s through ditches, tunnels and siphons for its sugar cane fields in Upcountry and Central Maui. Na Moku complained that the water diversions with a 450 million gallon a day capacity dried up streams that hindered taro farming and other native practices and disrupted the natural habitat in the streams.

Through the years, the proceeding wended legal and legislative turns and the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and the end of sugar operations on Maui in 2016. HC&S’ parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, has embarked on a plan to keep 31,000 acres of its former sugar fields in agriculture.

A&B said it needed 89 mgd for its diversified agriculture plans, which include cattle ranching, growing energy and other crops and forestry. The commission estimates that its decision and order provided for 90 percent of “reasonable irrigation needs” for 23,000 acres of important agricultural lands.

The decision and order notes that A&B could be expected to use about 18 mgd of water from brackish wells, leaving only 60 mgd from stream diversions. Sylva pointed out that is much less than the 165 mgd used for sugar operations….

the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., hailed the “landmark” decision and order by the state Commission on Water Resource Management.

“Making the full restoration of 10 streams the new IIFS (in-stream flow standard) is unprecedented,” said Summer Sylva, staff attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., on Wednesday. “Achieving 90 percent habitat recovery for seven streams is a huge triumph; and ensuring mauka-to-makai flows for all previously diverted streams reflects a valuing of the East Maui watershed for … its awe-inspiring beauty.”… (as a tourist attraction)

read … Condos Coming

Kauai: Activists, Tourism Industry Expect to Use Instream Flow Assessment to Block Dairy Farm

KGI: …“This is the public’s opportunity to be heard and assure that adequate in-stream flow standards are set to preserve, not only the stream health, but also the aesthetic, cultural and customary practices of the Wailua watershed,” said Bridget Hammerquist, with the Aha Moku and Kia’i Wai’ o Wai’ale’ale.

She continued: “Your participation June 21 is critical if the state is to compile an accurate assessment.”…

A public review draft of each of the Instream Flow Standard Assessment reports for Wailua available online at bit.ly/2IbVV68

Tonight’s meeting is scheduled for the KCC Performing Arts Center Theater from 6 -8 p.m….

read … Block Anything that’s not tourism

Homosexual Molester was UH Athletic Dep’t Doctor

AP: A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student-athletes at Ohio State University said he acted as a team physician at other universities, most of which won’t say if they are reviewing those connections or whether any concerns were raised about him.

Ohio State employment records reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Richard Strauss worked at five schools in the decade between leaving the Navy as a submarine medicine instructor and joining the university in Columbus in 1978.

Strauss researched, taught or practiced medicine at Harvard University, Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii, according to his resume.

Ohio State hasn’t disclosed exactly how many people have raised allegations about Strauss or details about those claims. Reports of alleged misconduct have come from male athletes affiliated with 14 sports: baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling.

There are also allegations related to Strauss’ private, off-campus medical office in Columbus, according to a law firm representing the university.

Ohio State said independent investigators have conducted or scheduled more than 130 interviews with people who reported having relevant information….

The resume also lists him as a “physician for university diving activities” at Washington and Hawaii. Spokeswomen for those schools couldn’t provide further information this week about those activities or his work, and didn’t address questions about whether their schools are reviewing connections to Strauss….

Strauss 2005 death in Los Angeles was ruled a suicide…. 

AP: He was an associate professor at UH Manoa for two years starting in 1972.

read … Another Molester

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