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Tuesday, October 30, 2018
October 30, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:31 PM :: 1031 Views

Hawaii Supreme Court Affirms TMT Permit

Hawaii Electricity Prices to Jump 20% Thanks to New Ship Fuel Requirements

Hawaii WWI Centennial - a Full Day of Events at the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial

Feds to Caldwell, Council: We have been very patient with you

GOP: Vote 'No' on Bill 42 Rail Ripoff

The Cost of Utilities: Hawaii Pays the Most in USA

Secret Recovery Plan: Borrowing costs for rail have increased by $42 million

SA: ….The cost of borrowing money to finance the Honolulu rail project is climbing despite the injection of nearly $1.2 billion in additional cash from last year’s controversial statewide hotel room tax increase, according to new financial data for the project.

State lawmakers last year predicted that increasing the hotel room tax for 13 years would reduce the cost of borrowing for rail because it would pump more money into the rail project starting this year. The idea was the extra cash would reduce the need to borrow during construction, which would translate into lower interest costs and fees.

But according to a (secret) new report from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, borrowing costs for rail have actually increased by $42 million, to a total of $897 million. That figure was included in a recently released draft “recovery plan” for the rail project that was circulating among city and state lawmakers (but peasants may not read) last week….

HART spokesman Bill Brennan said in a written statement Thursday that the “biggest driving force” behind the increased borrowing costs is HART now anticipates the federal government will spread its subsidy payments in support of the Honolulu rail project over a longer period.

The Federal Transit Administration committed to provide $1.55 billion in federal funding to help Honolulu build the rail line, but has withheld nearly $744 million of that money until HART develops an acceptable recovery plan for the troubled project….

HART predicted last year that the FTA would release $229 million of that federal funding in June 2018, and the rest of the money would be delivered to the city in two additional increments of more than $200 million next year and the following year.

But the FTA hasn’t released that money, and HART’s new draft recovery plan projects the FTA will release the federal rail subsidies in annual $100 million increments starting this year and ending with a $144 million payment in fiscal year 2025….

read … Borrowing costs for rail have increased by $42 million, a report states

Andria Tupola denies blocking running mate Marissa Kerns from debate

SA: …Republican candidate for governor Andria Tupola deliberately failed to inform her running mate Marissa Kerns that Kerns had been invited to Monday night’s televised debate, and Kerns therefore didn’t attend, Kerns said today.

Tupola denied that allegation, saying that she told Kerns at a campaign rally on Sunday that Kerns was invited to the debate.

Kerns, who won the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, said Tupola knew by Oct. 19 that Kerns was invited to the event, and even informed television station KITV that Kerns would attend, but never told Kerns herself about the invitation.

“I’ve been pounding Tupola since last night, right after the debate. Oh, my gosh,” Kerns said his morning. “Not one thing she told me any of that stuff. We even met up the other night at the rally in Kailua.”

“Not once did she mention it,” Kerns said.

Tupola said this morning that KITV told her before the debate that the station had “informed all of the campaigns.” Tupola denied that she accepted the invitation on Kerns’ behalf or ever indicated to the television station that Kerns would attend.

When Tupola and Kerns met at the campaign event in Kailua, “I told her that there was a debate and she kept insisting that she wasn’t invited, and I was like, ‘Nope, I’m pretty sure that KITV invited all of us.’ And she was like, ‘Nope, nope, it’s just for the governors.’ And I was like, ‘Nope, I think you got it wrong.’”

“I tried to talk to her about it. She’s definitely a very headstrong, determined person,” Tupola said. Tupola said she also had Hawaii Republican Party Chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov call Kerns Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., but Ostrov was unavailable for comment this morning, and it was unclear what Ostrov told Kerns….

read … Deny

Ige far outstrips Tupola in fundraising

SA: … Gov. David Ige has spent nearly $359,000 on his general election campaign against Republican Andria Tupola so far, and has spent more than $2.88 million on his overall re-election effort, according to his latest report with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

The vast majority of Ige’s spending was in the Democratic primary, where he successfully fended off a strong challenge from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Ige spent more than $2.475 million on the primary election, while Hanabusa spent slightly more than $2.1 million, according to campaign spending records.

Ige reported he had $216,045 in cash on hand Oct. 22 as he entered the final weeks before the Nov. 6 general election. Tupola’s latest campaign finance filing, covering the most recent period from Aug. 12 to Oct. 22, was not available at press time….

Tupola previously reported she spent $320,083 on her primary election contest with former state Sen. John Carroll, whom she defeated easily. Tupola had only $11,731 in cash on hand at the end of that primary.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democratic state Sen. Josh Green reported he has spent more than $1.088 million on the race to date, including $43,253 since the primary election.

His Republican opponent, Marissa Kerns, reported spending $19,069 on the election as of Aug. 11, but her latest report, covering the period from Aug. 12 to Oct. 22, was unavailable.

Green is the first candidate for lieutenant governor to spend more than $1 million on the race…

CB: Ige Has Raised And Spent Three Times As Much Campaign Cash As Tupola

read … Ige far outstrips Tupola in fundraising

Ron Curtis Voice of Reason vs Crazy Mazie

HNN: …U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono lit up the internet with these words during the contentious Kavanaugh hearings.

“I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up!” she said.

As a supporter of the #MeToo movement, Hirono has made frequent media appearances as a tough talking critic of President Trump and has used the swear word ‘bullsh**t’ during interviews on the GOP.

"You can't help but call it what it is. There's a lot of BS. There's a lot of lying. There's a President who lies every single day," Hirono told Hawaii News Now.

Republican challenger and political newcomer Ron Curtis wants a less divisive Washington and even avoids directly criticizing Hirono.

"I thought it was horrible on both sides. It was so much partisan agenda than actually doing what was the right thing. Senator Hirono was part of it. Some of the Republicans were a part of it. We need to bring the country back together again. We need to make it whole," he said….

AP: Hirono Campaigns in Nevada

read … Hirono explains fiery dialogue while Congressional challenger seeks change

Caldwell unveils new vacation rental bill

SA: …Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Wednesday will try for a third time to obtain from the Honolulu Planning Commission a favorable recommendation for a draft omnibus bill addressing all things related to short-term vacation rentals, this time with a version that places more stringent limits on the number of bed-and-breakfast establishments and transient vacation units that would be allowed.

The vastly revamped, 15-page draft bill will be taken up by the commission at its 1:30 p.m. meeting at the KEY Project Multi- Purpose Community Center in Kahaluu.

The latest plan addresses concerns raised by commissioners and the public at previous meetings about the Department of Planning and Permitting’s original draft, DPP Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa said. DPP’s submittal is required to go before the Honolulu City Council for a final decision with or without a favorable recommendation from the commission, which is advisory on this issue….

The commission voted Sept. 19 to forward Caldwell’s original draft bill to the Council without any recommendation. On Oct. 17, despite a personal plea for commissioners to reconsider their “no recommendation,” the panel rejected him a second time.

A positive commission recommendation could make a big difference for this plan because under city law a positive recommendation would allow the plan to be approved with five of the nine Council members voting “yes.” Without a positive recommendation the plan would need a supermajority of six votes to pass…. 

SA: Planning panel endorses Caldwell’s new plan on vacation rentals

read … Caldwell unveils new vacation rental bill

Critical shortage of doctors prompting range of solutions

KHON: … The doctor workforce has fallen to just a few thousand, down 51 since last year. That's short more than 500 doctors for our population, and experts say we need to be moving in the other direction and fast because a net gain of 650 is needed in 2020.

"We've seen the retirement age get lower and lower, in part because of payment transformation, electronic health records," said Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, graduate medical education director at UH JABSOM. "If you take out the number of physicians who are 65 years of age and older, the gaps widen tremendously."

"We've had chronic underpayment for physicians in our island," Hedges said, "and we can't just suddenly say we're going to raise the payment for each doctor because the monies for those payments come thru those who purchase the health insurance, and our businesses have to remain healthy."

These and other factors are driving doctors out faster than they're coming in, especially in rural areas.

"We already have critical shortages on the neighbor islands for all specialties including primary care," Buenconsejo-Lum said.

The Big Island is the worst, more than 40 percent understaffed. Maui County and Kauai are a third under what they need. People on some neighbor islands in need of trauma care, orthopedic or other surgeries, even some childbirths -- have to fly to Oahu.

"Many have to come a week or two, three or four weeks before deliver to provide the safest environment just in case something happens," Buenconsejo-Lum said. "Trauma is a really big, really really serious challenge, also behavioral health, mental health even for children." ….

read … Critical shortage of doctors prompting range of solutions

After 35 Years One Schizophrenic Accepts Housing

HNN: …For more than three decades, Jeanette Sasaki and her shopping carts have been a fixture in downtown Honolulu….Despite hundreds of offers of help, Sasaki always refused psychiatric medication and shelter….

Cheryl says her sister first started showing signs of mental illness when she was just a girl and says she has been living on the street nearly her entire adult life….

“You know our whole family went to see the state psychiatrist, Dr. Leland,” Sasaki said.

“He said at that time, and it was probably in the 70s, that he couldn’t do anything because (we closed the insane asylums and) she wasn’t hurting herself and she’s not hurting anybody.  (We want to keep her on the streets to make other people feel guilty.)”

In the months after Cheryl Sasaki called him, Koyanagi helped guide her through the process of obtaining legal guardianship over her sister. A judge granted the motion on June 14. And with help from Honolulu police, an IHS outreach team was able to have Jeanette Sasaki admitted into Castle Medical Center.

There, she was treated for severe wounds on both of her legs.

And on Aug. 22, she received her first injection of schizophrenia medication.

“Her hostility went down. Her ability to have a conversation increased. Her hygiene increased," Koyanagi said. “Now she’s focused on getting into housing and maintaining regular contact with her sister.”

For more than a year and a half, Hawaii News Now documented Sasaki’s journey from a distance because of her paranoia with cameras. But that also changed in early October.

“I feel more comfortable now,” Sasaki said, during a recent conversation on Alakea Street.

She said she was headed to Safe Haven, a facility that provides permanent supportive housing for people who are mentally ill. “If there’s a space I’m going to jump in as soon as possible,” she said.

She also talked about a recent conversation with her sister. “She makes me believe in the past,” Sasaki said.

Five days later, a bed opened up at Safe Haven. On Oct. 15, she moved in.

Sasaki continues to willingly take her medication and is showing signs of improvement everyday….

KGI: Our homeless neighbors

read … She lived on the streets for 35 years, lost in her illness. Her family never gave up

Danner Protests at DHHL HQ

HNN: …Robin Danner was among those protesting.  Danner, who was recently arrested in a DHHL land dispute, says people want to be more involved in decision making when it comes to policies within the department….

During the protest, those favoring the work of DHHL gathered to thank the current administration for the record funding the agency has received in the past two years….

SA VIDEO: Protestors rally at Department of Hawaiian Homelands

read … Danner Agenda

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