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Thursday, January 03, 2019
January 3, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:44 PM :: 1051 Views

OHA Audit in Jeopardy

A Stunning Revelation at OHA

Ige Appoints Clare Connors Attorney General

New Insurance Commissioner Appointed

Ige Reappoints Directors at Ten Departments

House Republican Package 'A Better Tomorrow'

Hawaii Republican Chair Sums up 2018

Government Shutdown: Hawaii 4th-most Affected

Insiders Try to Talk Down Zero-Based Budgeting

CB: … Sylvia Luke’s logical call for zero-based budgeting is far from a cure-all for a Legislature so set in its dysfunctional ways.

(Straw-man argument: Nobody said zero-based budgeting is a ‘cure all.’)

A zero-based budget means that in every budget cycle all state agencies start from scratch. Each must explain how they will spend their money,  with valid performance measures acceptable to the Legislature.

(These lunatics are trying to sound reasonable so you will be drawn in.  Is it working?)

Sounds so good.  And it can be, subject to these five limits (circular and/or straw-man arguments)….

First, zero-based budgeting encourages scolding, but scolding often doesn’t work.

(So legislators must act instead of just talking.  And this is an argument?)

Second, the quest for performance measures can get out of hand.

(Yes.  Think about all those poor computer solitaire game designers.  With no HGEA members to buy their wares, what will they do?)

Third, legislators may be unwilling to accurately assess performance.

(Circular: Legislators may be unwilling to do their job so we shouldn’t expect them to do their job.)

Fourth, the Legislature itself it is often the key enabler of government inefficiency.

(Circular: Legislators may be unwilling to do their job so we shouldn’t expect them to do their job.)

Fifth, zero-based budgeting is a good start, but when it comes to bad governing, it is just a tiny tool for a huge problem.

(A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—but don’t take that step because it does not complete the journey.)

More of the Same: Progressives To Put Up Last-Minute Fight To Stop ‘Pay-Go’ Budget Rules--Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ro Khanna say the new rules risk hamstringing a progressive agenda.

read … The kind of rationalizations which keep crabs in the bucket

Lobbyist Tries Legal Suicide by Text Message

KHON: …One of its main supporters, John Radcliffe, is poised to become the first patient in Hawaii to request a prescription for medical aid-in-dying medication.

He was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2014.

(Five years later -- how can this person be characterized as having a terminal diagnosis within the next six months as required by the assisted suicide law?)

"I want to ensure that our terminally ill residents understand their rights and that those who wish to access this end of life option can do so," said John Radcliffe, Medical Aid-In-Dying Advocate. "We have a wonderful and merciful state here in Hawaii and we should all be so grateful that we have had this opportunity to live here."

Safeguards of the act include confirmation by two health care providers of the patient's diagnosis, two verbal requests, and one written request from the patient as well as patient counseling….

read … Cancer patient John Radcliffe poised to be come first to use medical aid-in-dying law

8 Honolulu City Council members take seats without choosing a leader 

SA: …The Honolulu City Council recessed today without electing a new chairman, meaning no Council business will be taking place for at least the next six days.

Council Vice Chairwoman Kymberly Pine will remain chair pro tempore until a time, date and place to be determined. Because of state public meeting requirements, six days advance notice must be given.

Without any leaders selected, no committee assignments have been made and no meetings of any sort have been scheduled for the year.

The uncertainty was caused by a legal challenge against the election of Trevor Ozawa, who won re-election to the Council District 4 seat by beating former state Rep. Tommy Waters by 22 votes.

Ozawa had been expected to be voted chairman by a five-member majority today. Ozawa and three other Council members on Thursday introduced Resolution 18-294, which calls for Ozawa to become chairman and Pine to continue in that role. Ozawa and Pine had been viewed as the two most likely members to lead the new makeup of the nine-person Council.

But the Hawaii Supreme Court, in an unprecedented move, late Friday asked election officials to respond to questions raised by Waters and a group of East Honolulu voters that separately challenged the votes.

The state Office of Elections responded to the questions Monday. This afternoon, the High Court issued a new order granting Waters’ request for additional time to file a response. He will have until 4:30 p.m. Friday….

read … 8 Honolulu City Council members take seats without choosing a leader

More interesting legal cases re government secrecy

ILind: … Looking over the case list of the Civil Beat Law Center last week, I was struck by how many interesting situations they are confronting, sometimes taking the lead, and other times coming to the support of independent plaintiffs.

Here are three cases I found surprising and of interest. The first is an action brought by the CB Law Center to unseal a series of documents in the federal prosecution of Katherine Kealoha, wife of the former Honolulu police chief and a high-ranking deputy prosecutor for the City and County of Honolulu. In the other two cases, the law center has sought to file Amicus Curiae memos supporting a plaintiff’s case for increased openness to proceedings and access to government records.

The quotes below are from the law center’s list of cases.

read … More interesting legal cases re government secrecy

Waikoloa Highlands Kim Admin Cancels Kenoi Development Deal

EH: … The Hawai‘i County agency that is supposed to help the homeless find housing seems instead to have given cover to a scheme to line the pockets of as-yet unknown players.

Just how this happened, in the waning days of the administration of Mayor Billy Kenoi, can’t be known from the records that the Office of Housing and Community Development has made public to date.

But while details remain murky, the fact that the current administration now has turned its back on the agreement the former administration signed in late 2016 with representatives of Waikoloa Highlands, Inc., and the later release of the company from the need to comply further with the county’s affordable housing law point to a clear need for further investigation. The abrupt resignation from the OHCD of the employee who guided these agreements to final approval only adds to the need for a full inquiry….

read … Agency Gives Shelter, but to Whom?

Development Takes 20 Years--May Take Another 20 Thanks to SHPD

WHT: … It’s taken 20 years to get this far, but full build-out of the 1,079-acre Kaupulehu project in North Kona may need 20 more.

Developers of the project say they’ve made substantial progress meeting development requirements set in 1999. Homes are being built, infrastructure such as roads and sewer is on track, golf course construction has commenced and a cultural center has been completed….

As the County Council gears up to hear this issue next week, a troublesome area remains — opening up the promised public access to a cultural center and the shoreline. The council Planning Committee is scheduled to hear the issue at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Hilo.

Developers’ representatives named the State Historic Preservation Division as the stumbling block.

“We are held up from opening this interpretive center to the general public because we have a pending long-term preservation plan being reviewed by SHPD. You know, we’ve, over the years we’ve followed up, our archaeologist has followed up with SHPD. We have gotten no response,” said Carlsmith Ball planner Jason Knable at an Oct. 18 meeting of the Leeward Planning Commission….

Commissioner Michael Vitousek questioned whether the county could do more to open up public access instead of waiting for the state.

“At this point if these guys have been held for years and years on end, and the public is losing out of that as not being able to access the property, at some point I would think that, because the county has this Cultural Resources Commission in place, the county has to make its own determination as to whether or not this preservation plan is acceptable per these permitting conditions, and review that so that the project can have some knowledge on whether they are in compliance or not and whether these sites are being maintained appropriately,” Vitousek said, according to the meeting transcript….

read … Public access lacking – Kaupulehu project coming to County Council

Soft on Crime: Feds Step in Because State Just Can’t Get the Job Done

SA: … A $1 million warrant for Gouveia was issued by a state judge on Dec. 27 after an Oahu grand jury returned an indictment that included multiple counts, including second-degree attempted murder.

The new federal charges are based on search of Gouveia’s Waihee Road residence by Honolulu police and a review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gouveia is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute based on the discovery of 1,380 grams of methamphetamine at his residence during the search, and being a felon in possession of firearms after sustaining felony convictions. Gouveia, who has 14 prior felony convictions, kept two rifles (including one semi-­automatic) at his residence, according to the complaint.

The firearms charge represents a federal offense because the rifles were brought to Hawaii via interstate and/or foreign commerce….

read … Soft on Crime

Bum Patrol: After 600 Acts of Vandalism City to lock up 18 more Oahu parks at night starting Friday

SA: … Eighteen more city parks — from Makapuu to Mokuleia — are scheduled to be closed each night starting Friday night to curtail vandalism and illegal homeless activity.

At a cost of nearly $39,000, the additional parks represent an expansion of the city’s initial hiring of American Guard Services Inc. in April to lock park bathrooms and gates during park closure hours following more than 600 acts of vandalism to city parks over the prior three years.

The pilot project began in April 2018 with 25 urban parks, then expanded to 16 more parks. Beginning Friday, 18 more parks on the Windward Side and North Shore will be locked at night.…

read … Bum Patrol

Price of Solar Energy in Hawaii Hard to calculate Thanks to ‘Lump Sum’ payment

IM: … The Hawaiian Electric Companies—HECO and subsidiaries HELCO and MECO—filed seven applications, docket numbers 2018-0430 through 2018-0436, with the Public Utilities Commission on New Year's Eve.

Each application is a  Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for Renewable Dispatchable Generation (RDG) utilizing solar plus storage.

The wholesale cost of the electricity varies from 7.8-11.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. (Plus ‘Lump Sum’—see below)

These solar plus battery costs are significantly less than the 22.0 cents per kilowatt-hour for the Hu Honua biomass-to-energy project….

The utility has “the contractual flexibility to dispatch the facility (both generation and storage). In exchange, the Seller is provided a monthly payment (`Lump Sum Payment`) which is subject to potential offset for liquidated damages based on the availability and performance of the facility.”

The calculation of the Lump Sum Payment is complex….

read … The Price of Solar Energy in Hawai`i Hits New Records

Newsflash: Marijuana Causes Global Warming

CB: … Cannabis use for medicinal purposes is now legal in 33 states in the country. Hawaii was the first state to legalize medical cannabis via the Legislature. With the increase of indoor cannabis production in the U.S. has come an unwelcome reality to those of us concerned with climate change: indoor cultivation practices without sustainability measures deployed have an unusually high carbon footprint.

Indoor cannabis production is in the early stages of industrial growth, and yet it is responsible for the equivalent of 1 percent of U.S. electrical usage. In fact, typical U.S. indoor cannabis production energy usage is on a scale with mainstream carbon-intensive industries.

For example, indoor cannabis production, nationally, uses as much energy as is produced by seven large electric power plants. That amount of energy use equates to emissions of 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions every year or the equivalent emissions from three million cars. As discussed presently, this impact is increasing rapidly.

The medical cannabis market is expected to grow from $7 billion in 2016 to $45 billion by 2025. Using current practices, this six-fold increase would add to the climate impact of medical cannabis. Recreational cannabis adds another 70 percent to both sales ($150 billion) and climate impact. With few exceptions, little action has been taken by state and local governments to address the climate impact of legal cannabis production….

read … Reducing The Carbon Footprint Of Producing Medical Cannabis

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